Russia to respond if Norway joins European missile shield

OSLO — Oslo should understand that its possible move to join the NATO European missile shield will not be left unanswered by its neighbor Russia, Russian Ambassador to Norway Teimuraz Ramishvili said in an interview with Norway’s state-run NRK TV channel.

“In this case we will have to make military-level technical decisions needed to neutralize the effect of the possible creation of a missile shield element. Naturally, it will trigger a vigorous reaction in Norway, which will claim that Russia poses a military threat to the country,” he said in an NRK interview aired late Saturday.

“Norway has to understand that after becoming an outpost of NATO, it will have to face head-on Russia and the Russian military might,” Ramishvili said, adding that the move “will become a new factor that will be included in our strategic planning as an additional problem in the Arctic Region.”

“Therefore, there will be no peaceful Arctic anymore,” he added.

In a comment to TASS, Ramishvili said that Moscow had to express its views on the issue in public, because the Norwegian side is unwilling to communicate on the problem.

“We have to talk about this in public recently due to the lack of the negotiation process and the Norwegian side’s reluctance to discuss their concerns with the neighbors. For this reason, the embassy tries to attract the public and politicians’ attention to the problem in an attempt to prevent the arms race from spreading to the Arctic region,” he said.

In 2015, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg expressed her country’s readiness as a NATO founding member to make a contribution in the creation of the European missile shield. Norway and US defense experts were to submit their recommendations on the issue to the Norwegian government by the end of 2017.

The Royal Norwegian Navy currently has in service five modern Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates, equipped with Lockheed Martin’s AEGIS combat system, that can be modernized to be incorporated into the European missile shield system.

The Globus II, a radar station located on the Vardo island near the Russian border, and another radar that the US plans to deploy there by 2020, can also be turned into elements of the European missile shield. Norwegian defense officials, however, dismissed this possibility. PNA/TASS –