Newsletter: Small, Weak, and Defenseless

Skjermbilde overlevering av Forsvarskommisjonens rapport
The leader of the Norwegian Expert Commission on Norwegian Security and Defence Policy Commision, Knut Storberget, hands over Commision's report to Norwegian Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram. (Screenshot from the press conference)

Dear reader; a depressing picture of the Norwegian defense is being painted this week. The Expert Commission on Norwegian Security and Defence Policy's report points out large gaps in Norway's defense abilities, especially in the north. "Not surprisingly, the commission spends a lot of time on the military strategic challenges in precisely the High North," believes Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm.

 This week, HNN reveals that a tanker carrying natural liquified gas from the Russian company Novatek anchored for around 24 hours off the coast of Northern Norway. HNN has not been able to get a comment from Norwegian authorities.  

On Wednesday, the Norwegian defense commission's report was ready. 

It cannot be conveyed as anything else than a crushing description of the Norwegian defense ability, in which Norway is left without the ability to defend itself against the increased security threat, especially in the High North. (Norwegian only) 

From Longyearbyen on Svalbard, Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm observes that the city has been prepared for a new era. 

"The explanation can be found in the defense commission's new report," writes Holm in this week's commentary. 

Denmark also wants to prioritize Arctic defense and put the Baltic Sea second. 

Russian activity 

Now the Norwegian Armed Forces is keeping an eye on several vessels from the Russian Northern Fleet in international waters in the North Sea. 

On Svalbard, the Russian company Trust Arktikugol has recently entered into a strategic partnership with a university in Arkhangelsk. (Norwegian only) 

The Arctic Council 

Norway's chairship of the Arctic Council is fast approaching.

But; “Even if the Arctic Council’s activities are resumed, the development of long-term cooperation with the Western Arctic states is hard to imagine”, says Russia's Arctic Ambassador. 

"An orderly handover of the Arctic Council on 11 May 2023 is uncertain", says Paul Arthur Berkman, Founder, and President, of the Science Diplomacy Center. 

In an interview with High North News´s Hilde-Gunn Bye, US Ambassador to Norway says he expects more interest from US businesses in the High North in the coming years. 

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On behalf of the editorial staff, I wish you a wonderful May weekend, 

Sincerely, News Editor Trine Jonassen 

This newsletter has been translated by Birgitte Annie Molid Martinussen.