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330 U.S. Marines to be stationed in Norway

By Ed Adamczyk
330 U.S. Marines to be stationed in Norway
U.S. Marines practice cold-weather exercises in Norway, which announced 330 Marines will be stationed at its Vaernes base beginning in 2017. Photo courtesy of Forsvaret, Norwegian Armed Forces

OSLO, Norway, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- About 330 U.S. Marines will be stationed at Norway's Vaernes military base beginning in 2017, the Norwegian Defense Ministry announced.

Norway, like the United States an original NATO member, has expressed concern over Russian military maneuvers since Russia annexed the Crimea in 2014. Norway shares a short border with Russia in its farthest northeast region, on the Barents Sea.

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"The United States is our most important ally and we have a near bilateral relationship that we wish to develop," Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said in a statement. "The defense of Norway is dependent on allied reinforcement and it is crucial for Norwegian security that our allies get the knowledge required to operate in Norway, together with Norwegian forces."

NATO troops have been deployed to Norway in the past for cold-weather training exercises, but were not stationed there.

The announcement Monday drew criticism from Norway's political opposition.

Audun Lysbakken, leader of the Sweden's Socialist Left party, told public broadcaster NRK: "This is not a good signal to send. We face a cold political climate that requires predictability from Norway. We should rather reinforce our national defense and not aim for some form of permanent presence by U.S. troops," Press TV reported.

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