October 19, 2016 - 7:31 AM
STOCKHOLM - The United States wants to send a 300-strong rotational force of U.S. Marines to Norway, a NATO member that shares a border with Russia in the Arctic.
Norwegian Defence Ministry spokesman Lars Gjemble said Wednesday that "a limited rotational U.S. Marine Corps presence in Norway is a possible option currently being considered."
Maj. Gen. Niel E. Nelson, the Commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces in Europe and Africa, confirmed the plans in a statement, adding "it would be premature to discuss possible implementation of such an initiative" before the political process is completed.
The rotational force would be based in Vaernes in central Norway.
Maj. Richard K. Ulsh, a Germany-based Marine Corps spokesman, said it would be the first time U.S. Marines are stationed in Norway.
"It enhances our ability to operate alongside the Norwegian Armed Forces during training events and exercises," he said.
The United States started rotating troops through Eastern Europe after Moscow's intervention in Ukraine 2014. Some NATO allies neighbouring Russia, including the Baltic countries, have asked for a permanent presence of U.S. troops.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016