Putin orders missile tests in NATO training area as 50,000 Western troops carry out exercises in Norway

Tuesday, October 30, 2018
By Paul Martin

NATO is carrying out Trident Juncture exercise in Norway until November 7
Russia says it will test ship-launched missiles off the coast from November 1-3
NATO commanders say they are aware of the tests and will work around them
Polish adviser to the military alliance said tests are a deliberate escalation of risk

30 October 2018

Russia has announced it will carry out missiles tests off the coast of Norway while NATO stages its largest war games since the Cold War close by.

Putin’s warships will test-fire some of Russia’s latest hardware in international waters near the Norwegian cities of Kristiansund, Molde, and Alesund from November 1 until November 3, the country’s military said.

The timing coincides with NATO troop manoeuvres near the city of Alesund as part of the Trident Juncture war games, which are scheduled in the same time period.

NATO commanders were informed of the move via NOTAM, a system for pilots which warns of potential hazards along route, last week.

While the military alliance sought to downplay Russia’s tests, a Polish adviser called it a deliberate provocation by Putin.

Jędrzej Tomczak, deputy political adviser to the Polish NATO delegation, put out a tweet saying: ‘Russia has a right to [carry out the tests]. But make no mistake. This clearly shows its attitude & intentions.’

The NATO exercise was ‘defensive’ in nature, commanders ‘notified [Russia] well in advance’ and was ‘fully transparent, with Russian observers’, he said.

Meanwhile Russia’s missile tests represent a ‘deliberate escalation’ and a ‘risk increase.’

However, Norwegian Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen told Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty: ‘There is nothing dramatic about this.

‘We have noted it and will follow the Russian manoeuvres.’

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