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Norway To Allow U.S. To Station 330 Troops

Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide at a meeting in 2014 with former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

The United States will deploy over 300 troops in Norway, the Norwegian government announced on October 24, in a move likely to upset neighboring Russia.

The 330 Marines will be stationed at the Vaernes military base around 1,000 kilometers from the Russian border, it said.

The United States already has military equipment in Norway, a NATO ally, but no troops.

The stationing of U.S. troops in Norway is intended to improve "interoperability within the Alliance," Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said.

"It is crucial for Norwegian security that our allies come here to gain knowledge of how to operate in Norway and with Norwegian forces," she said.

Oslo said the deployment, beginning in January, is a trial and will be evaluated in 2017.

Last week, the Russian Embassy in Oslo expressed surprise at the idea of stationing U.S. troops in Norway, noting frequent statements from Norwegian leaders that they do not view Russia as a threat.

Soereide, however, has expressed concern about Russian military activity since Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula in 2014.

Some domestic critics have also questioned whether it's wise for Norway to be drawn into the renewed Cold War-style confrontation between the United States and Russia.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP