On Wednesday, an American aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford, arrived in Norway for expected military exercises in the region. Norwegian media reported that the warship, which is 337 meters (1106 ft), and nuclear-powered, sailed for the first time into the Fjord under escort on Wednesday for a NATO firepower show, and it will stay there for some days and would head to the Arctic for military exercises.
Russia criticized the ship’s visit as there was already massive tension due to the Moscow-Kyiv war, and this act can raise the stress between the West and Kremlin. USS Gerald R Fort is US’s largest warship, and Russia called its arrival illegal and harmful in this very time of great tension.
Russia is speaking aggressively to the American move as the Kremlin shares land and sea borders with NATO member Norway. The Russian embassy in Norway said in a Facebook post that no issues or questions in the Arctic North required a military solution, and no such problems sought outside intervention. A spokesperson to the Russian embassy, Timur Chekanov, expressed to a French news agency that the military strength demonstration is disliked and unwelcome. He further told the Norwegian government admits they fear no direct threat from Russia, so such shows of military power would be illogical and harmful. It can damage relations.
There are vast no-fly airspace and sea bans on the American USS Gerald R Ford. It is capable of transporting 90 aircraft and helicopters and may stay in the Norwegian capital Oslo for a couple of days. United States Navy released a statement from Oslo Defense Minister Bjorn Arild Gram that says this is the demonstration and expression of Norwegian security they possess through NATO allies and close cooperation and partnership with America.
Ship to Carry Out Military Exercises
Online daily Barents Observer reported the ship might stay in Oslo for some days. Then it will be heading toward the Arctic several days before the start of Arctic challenge exercises. It will gather around 150 aircraft and 3000 military people from 14 Western nations. The newspaper reported that military activities would be conducted near the Russian border east to the coast of the Norwegian Sea in the west.
The Oslo military stated that the arrival of American Gerald R Ford, the US’s most advanced and unique aircraft carrier, would allow Norway to work and practice closely with the American military. It would develop cooperation with the most significant friend, the United States. Some mysterious explosions hit Nord-Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea last year, and it is believed to be an act of aggression and sabotage. Since then, Norwegian forces and other Nato allies have patrolled offshore oil and gas rigs. However, the responsible for the explosions is not identified yet.
Moreover, Russia had been the most significant gas supplier to Europe in the past, but after it invaded Ukraine and its economic and political fallout, Norway became Europe’s largest gas supplier. Russian gas field was also affected by the many sanctions imposed on it by several countries to stop it from aggression in Ukraine.
Oslo said on Wednesday that it would support American armies’ training of Ukrainian pilots. Norway’s Defense minister expressed they backed United States’ this action and have been looking for ways to support its allies and partners. The Minister recently said they have not decided if its country would provide Kyiv with F-16 fighter jets.