Russia's decision to invade Ukraine has created a demanding and serious security situation in Europe. At the same time, it is important to emphasise that Cold Response 2022 has been planned long before the war in Ukraine. The exercise is neither unexpected nor surprising to Russian authorities.
The Norwegian Armed Forces have also regularly informed Russia about the exercise. This January, the Commander of the Norwegian Joint Headquarters held a video call with the Commander of the Russian Northern Fleet. During this call, the Russian General was updated and on the exercise.
Russia is also used to Norway hosting major military exercises with NATO participation. Cold Response is also a defensive exercise where we exercise on defending our country. NATO is a cornerstone in the defence of Norway, which makes it important for Norway to train together with our allies in our own areas. Our allies also need to train on operating in cold weather and Norwegian arctic climate. We must test and train this ability – also now.
Both Norway and NATO work to ensure transparency around our military exercises, and we have a profound respect of international law and regulations.
Under the Vienna Document, all host nations are obliged to notify the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) of any major military exercises. During Cold Response 2022, Norway has invited all 57 OSCE member states – including Russia – to send observers to the exercise in Norway. On site in Norway, they will be presented with a full programme of transparency, in accordance with the Vienna Document.