Norway Moves To Bolster Its Military

On October 31, 2022, the Norwegian government stated that Norway is putting its military on a heightened level of alert beginning November 1st, in response to the war in Ukraine. Armed force personnel will spend less time training and more time on operational duties while the Home Guard, a rapid mobilization force, will also play a more active role. The government declined to give further details on the extent of military preparations, as the scale of alert on which the Norwegian military operates is classified. There have been no public statements or definitive threats against Norway in the war, but the synthesis of risks and doubt has accumulated enough to cause officials to seek further military stability.

Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre stated that there is “no reason to believe that Russia will want to invade Norway or any other country directly.” Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, however, the Norwegian government had boosted its level of preparedness, Støre added. Although Støre stressed that nothing, in particular, has happened in recent hours to cause the increase in preparedness, he claimed Russia’s large losses are causing Putin’s regime to “resort to new means.” 

Norway’s efforts to bolster its militia appear to be defensive preparations with the intention to protect its own sovereignty against nearby states. Although bolstering militia is not the way forward, Norway is in an uncomfortable position. Despite their increased military presence, Norway must do its best to remain disengaged. The Russian regime, rather than moving to de-escalate the conflict in light of limited success on the grand scale, has continued to escalate it, involving more parties and expanding destruction. The potential for peacebuilding efforts are likely to only further fade from the perspective of feasible possibilities if militaries across Eurasia continue to expand. Countries should continue to advocate for peaceful resolutions and refrain from remaining neutral, threatening other states by military means, or enabling Russia’s damaging endeavours. 

Norway is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member and shares a land border of approximately 125 miles with Russia, as well as a vast maritime border. The Nordic state is also now the biggest exporter of natural gas to the European Union (EU), accounting for about a quarter of all EU imports after the decline in Russian provisions. The Russian Embassy in Oslo has alleged that authorities there have used drone and ship sightings, as well as Russians with cameras, to fuel a “spy mania.”

 Norway should refrain from threatening other states by military means, even if inadvertently. As the Russian regime persists in escalating its presence in the Ukraine conflict, Norway, accompanied by the international community, should advocate for peaceful resolutions. With limited international relationships remaining on the following actions in Ukraine, Russia continues its trudge down a disruptive and fruitless path. Peacebuilding efforts will fade from the perspective of every government involved if military presence increases.