NATO Monitors Russia’s Growing Nuclear Capabilities

( – Norway’s northern border with Russia is one of the vanguard positions monitoring Russia’s military activity in the Arctic Circle. Lt. Col. Michael Rozmara and dozens of teenage recruits occupy Sør-Varanger, a garrison in a tiny city up against the northern border.

The recruits come out in three-week shifts where they learn survival skills and mental discipline in the harsh environment where the winter days only last a few hours at most. They observe the Russian military base across the border for any abnormal activity. The base houses some of Moscow’s nuclear arsenal.

The area has been relatively quiet since the war began in February 2022 with one exception when a Russian private working with the Wagner group hopped over the border to seek asylum in Norway.

The attitude in Norway had been one of peace with a consistent normalcy bias toward thinking they wouldn’t have to spend much on security. That changed dramatically with the invasion of Ukraine. Norway Deputy Minister of Defense Anne Marie Aanerud said it was difficult to understand just how “deep the peace has been in Norway.”

She elaborated that the invasion opened up possibilities most Norwegians hadn’t considered. Norway officials claimed the Russian military has trolled Norway with electronic jamming or other potential interference with internet and energy infrastructure on the seabed floor.

They’ve also described diplomatic harassment. In October, the Norweigan ambassador was summoned to Moscow to hear the complaints about a Soviet monument that remains in Kirkenes, a Norwegian town near the border.

Norway performs a vital function, acting as an early alert to Russian military activity as well as a diplomatic channel despite its membership in NATO. Norway also boasts $1.4 trillion in national wealth due to an abundance of natural gas and oil revenues.

Aanerud pointed out that while Russia is tied up in Ukraine, they may be conventionally weakened, but their naval and air assets remain intact. They also possess a stockpile of nuclear weapons.

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