Moscow responds to neighbor’s ‘unprecedented’ move
Norway’s decision to put its armed forces on heightened alert amid the Ukraine conflict and Moscow’s stand-off with the West is “unprecedented,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Tuesday, adding that any unfriendly actions by Oslo will not go unanswered.
Speaking at a regular press briefing, Zakharova noted that the move wouldn’t have been of any concern to Moscow except for one “important detail.”
“Basically, such an unprecedented step is justified – as you can easily guess – by the actions of Russia, which ‘brought about the most serious security policy situation in Europe’,” she said.
Denying this allegation, Zakharova insisted that it was the West that was to blame for tensions with Moscow. “This was brought upon by your actions, not ours … You are the ones who have destabilized the situation on the European continent.”
The spokeswoman went on to warn that while Moscow was open to having a conversation based on mutual respect, it would also respond to any “unfriendly” steps by Oslo.
She also denounced what she called attempts to “ramp up the threat from the East, smear our country and attribute to it things it is not doing” by Norway. By doing so, the spokeswoman argued, Oslo was trying “to disguise its own aspirations in terms of military preparations.”
Zakharova added that Russia regards such actions close to its borders as Norway’s bid to “deliberately follow destructive policies” meant “to stir up regional tensions.”
Zakharova’s comments came after Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store announced that Oslo had raised the readiness level of its armed forces from phase 0 – a normal situation – to phase 1 on Monday. Explaining the move, the prime minister claimed Norway had found itself “in the most serious security policy situation in the past several decades,” while warning that since Russia is now “experiencing great resistance” on the ground in Ukraine, Moscow could be “resorting to other means” in its military campaign.