Ever since the illegal invasion of Ukraine in February, it seems like Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has been looking to provoke a fight with any global power that challenges him. In response to Oslo’s support of NATO expanding its operations in the Arctic, Putin has recently set his sights on Norway.
In a threatening statement released Wednesday, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said, “Oslo is now among the most active supporters of NATO’s involvement in the Arctic. We consider such developments near Russian borders as Oslo’s deliberate pursuit of a destructive course toward escalation of tensions in the Euro-Arctic region and the final destruction of Russian-Norwegian relations.”
Zakharova went on to warn that any future “unfriendly actions will be followed by a timely and adequate response.”
The warnings from Russia come in response to the Norwegian government issuing a “high state of alert” for its military due to Russia increasing tensions in its war against Ukraine.
In response to the rare increased military state of alert, Norway’s prime minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, said, “This is the most severe security situation in several decades.” Støre added, “There are no indications that Russia is expanding its warfare to other countries, but the increased tensions make us more exposed to threats, intelligence operations and influence campaigns.”
According to The Guardian, the elevated alert level could be related to growing concern that Russian spies are possibly compromising certain facilities in Norway. It has been reported that several Russian citizens have been arrested, and most released, recently for either having drones or for photographing things that have a photography ban on them.
Tensions have also been rising between Scandinavia and Russia as both Finland and Sweden have bid to join NATO. Turkey and Hungary are the only two countries preventing the Scandinavian countries from joining the international organization.
Adding fuel to the fire, Norway also imposed new sanctions on 7 Russian companies and 30 individuals in an effort to keep pressure on Russia. The added pressure comes less than a week after the Kremlin accused the British government of assisting Ukraine with a coordinated drone attack on the Russian Black Sea fleet that reportedly caused heavy damage to the fleet’s flagship.