NATO member raises military alert level
Norway has raised the readiness level of its armed forces, warning that Russia may be “resorting to other means” in the conflict with Ukraine, and declaring it faces an increasingly difficult security situation.
The move was announced by Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store on Monday. Store ordered the armed forces to shift from readiness level phase 0, known as “normal situation,” to readiness phase 1, according to EuroWeekly News.
“We are in the most serious security policy situation in the past several decades,” Store told the media. He argued that, since Russia is now “experiencing great resistance” on the ground in Ukraine, Moscow could be “resorting to other means” in its military campaign.
The prime minister admitted that his government had no reason to believe that Russia would “wish to involve Norway or other countries directly in the war,” but explained that putting Norway’s military on higher alert was necessary because “the situation dictates it.”
Norway’s Chief of Defense Eirik Kristoffersen, who spoke alongside the prime minister, added that “the most important task of the armed forces is to preserve our peace and security, and to prevent conflict.” He explained that the move would see the country’s military reprioritize parts of its planned activities in order to increase “operational ability and endurance.”
The move comes after the Norwegian security services (PST) reportedly arrested a university lecturer last week, accusing him of being a “deep-cover agent” allegedly working for Russia, according to an NRK report. A PST spokesperson confirmed the arrest, saying it was part of a probe into “illegal intelligence” activities that “may damage fundamental national interests” of Norway and the “security and interests of other nations.”
Relations between Russia and Western nations have been at one of their lowest points in history due to the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev. Norway, a NATO member, has arrested nearly a dozen Russian nationals over suspected espionage activities in recent weeks, including six people who allegedly took photos of facilities covered by the national photo ban.