AN UNEXPECTED RUSSIAN SUMMER WARSHIP ‘CRUISE’: Norway monitoring vessels that suddenly approach southern tip of Spitsbergen and Isfjorden during exercises at sea

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As if foreign cruise ships weren’t enough cause for concern during this second COVID-19 summer,  are still under, Norway is now keeping an alert eye on a group of Russian warships that suddenly departed from an exercise at Franz Josef Land to the east and passing within 20 kilometers of coastlines in Svalbard, according to military officials and media reports.

The ships started sailing toward Svalbard on Tuesday, turning north at the southern tip of Spitsbergen and passing close to Isfjorden at midday Wednesday, The Independent Barents Observer reported. The mission of the ships is unclear to Norwegian officials, but the Russian navy’s movements are different than previous voyages into Arctic waters, Ivar Moen, a spokesperson with the Norwegian Armed Forces’ joint operational headquarters, told the news site.

“We are monitoring the vessels’ activities,” he said.

The vessels, led by the anti-submarine destroyer Severomorsk, departed Kola Bay for the Barents Sea last Tuesday for their 10th annual exercise in the Arctic along the Northern Sea Route. Sailing with the destroyer are the military tanker Sergei Osipov and the rescue tugboat Pamir.

A statement from Russia’s Coast Guard note the warships “will take part in several exercises to defend islands and continental territories of Russia in the Arctic, as well as to ensure the safety of maritime navigation and other types of Russian maritime economic activities in the Arctic zone. The patrol is scheduled to last about two months.

Russia has conducted numerous sea and air military excursions along Svalbard’s borders for many years, as well as in other Arctic areas including Alaska and Scandinavia, as part of its aggressive effort to expand its presence and control in the far north.

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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