A “danger area” has been activated off the coast of Lofoten in Northern Norway due to Russian missile-firing tests taking place from April 11 to 14. The Russian air traffic management centre of Russia requested an area of 791 nautical miles on Monday through the A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) aviation alert system. This is not the first time Russia have tested military weapons off the Norwegian coast – but an expert revealed the close proximity to mainland is unusual, warning this is “not a friendly act”.
Professor at the Norwegian Naval Academy Ståle Ulriksen said that while its normal that Russia often test missiles, it’s usually done further north.
He said: “They have the whole Barents Sea to use as an exercise area, so that they choose to do it right outside Lofoten.
“It is a clear signal to Norway that they do what they want. This is not a friendly act and to declare the testing is just offensive.”
Mr Ulriksen also told Norwegian paper VG that the Russians often test new missiles as well as new ways of using old missiles during the exercises – some of them marine missiles used against land targets.
He told VG: “When deciding on an exercise area, they have a responsibility not to hit the marine traffic where they practice.”
The field the Russians have established for training is located outside Andøya, an area Norway use to test missiles as well.
Mr Ulriksen declared: “Norway has enough equipment there to capture the paths of the Russian missiles.”
The Russian missile-firing exercise is the first in months.
The last time Russia decided to test military weapons of the coast of Norway was in October and November last year – at the same time NATO’s Trident Juncture military exercise took place.
The exercise was the largest of its kind in Norway since the 1980s, gathering around 51,000 participants from all NATO members and partner countries Sweden and Finland.
During Trident Juncture, Russia announced missile exercises outside various coastal areas including Møre, Lofoten and Finnmark.
But they only carried out the notified activity outside Finnmark, leading to speculation of the nation playing “games” with NATO.
Last year’s military exercise was viewed as a “serious” concern because of the rising tension between NATO and Russia.
A mutual game between the parts have seen increasing numbers of exercises and deployment of military installations and troops on both sides.
The Norwegian Armed Forces inform VG Russia have not planned any major exercises in the same area during the period in which Russia has announced its exercise this time.