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World

AFP
June 13, 2018

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Norway wants to double US troops closer to Russia

OSLO: Norway will ask the United States to double the number of US troops stationed in the country and deploy them nearer the border with Russia, the government said Tuesday.

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The announcement came after nine nations along NATO’s eastern flank called Friday for the alliance to bolster its presence in their region. Since last year, 330 US Marines have been deployed on rotation at Vaernes in the centre of Norway, despite loud protests from Russia.

Oslo said it wants to boost the troop numbers to 700 and station them further north at Setermoen, 420 kilometres (260 miles) from Russia.The US deployment agreement would also be extended from the current six-month renewable periods to five years.

“The defence of Norway depends on the support of our NATO allies, as is the case in most other NATO countries,” said Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen in a statement.“For this support to work in times of crises and war, we are are totally dependent on joint training and exercises in times of peace,” he added. Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia had Friday called for NATO to discuss an increased military presence in their region at next month’s leaders’ summit in Brussels.

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