Russian Ambassador: - Reducing our military activity in the north

- Russia will considerably reduce its military activity in the north during the next three to four years. Then our military modernization program is complete, Russia's Ambassador to Norway Teimuraz O. Ramishvili claims. (Photo: Hege Eilertsen)
-Russia will reduce its military activity in the High North considerably during the next three to four years, says Russia's Ambassador to Norway Teimuraz O. Ramishvili.

-Russia will considerably reduce its military activity in the High North during the next three to four years, says Russia's Ambassador to Norway Teimuraz O. Ramishvili.

Ramishvili's statement came during a debate at the High North Dialogue conference in Bodø, Norway, just before Easter. High North Dialogue is an annual conference where today's leaders meet tomorrow's leaders, students from all the Arctic nations – especially the Russians and Norwegians.

Military modernization almost finished

The Russian Ambassador told the audience that Russia will soon have finished its process of modernizing their military facilities and installations in the north, and when this process is over, the military drill activity will be significantly reduced.

The Moscow Times recently gave its readers an insight into the modern Russian base at Franz Joseph Land.

- We agree about the rules

Finland's Ambassador, the USA's Chargé d'Affaires and State Secretary of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry Marit Berger Røsland also participated in the debate, where Ramishvili went far in promising a downscaling of Russian military activity in the coming years.

The Ambassador emphasized the importance of balance in the north and said the Arctic nations agree, and will continue to do so, about international rules and restrictions applicable for all activities in the High North.

- Stability, security and development

- Stability, security and development is vital for all people and peoples in the Arctic regions, including for Russia, Teimuraz O. Ramishvili said.

He also pointed to the fact that Russia is concerned with cleaning up its own pollution in the north, among others through removing large amounts of nuclear waste.

"The Kola submarine adventure"

He said that what he'd refer to as "the adventure of cleaning up submarines" on the Kola Peninsula is almost finished, and probably will be by the end of the year. The submarines are by and large cleared of nuclear waste.

- During the past five years, Russia has removed more than 40,000 tons of waste in its High North, and we will continue this cleaning. We are not satisfied yet, Russia's Ambassador Teimuraz O. Ramishvili said.

Warned in February

Last February, Ambassador Ramishvili warned that a missile shield might endanger Norway's borders. The outspoken Ramishvili then said:

- Norway does not have anything to fear from Russia. However, Norwegian authorities should not be naïve. Norwegian participation in NATO's missile shield will endanger the country's borders.

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“We will be diminishing our military exercise activity in the coming three four years very drastically – after we have mostly finished our military modernization program.” (Teimuraz O. Ramishvili).