Russian troops withdraw from border with Norway in decline since start of war in Ukraine: official | ET REALITY

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Norway said Russian forces have withdrawn from its Arctic border, stating that the number of troops Moscow has there now is “20% or less” compared to the start of the Ukraine war.

“On our border, the border of our region, there are perhaps 20% or less forces, less than before February 24, 2022,” Norwegian defense chief General Eirik Kristoffersen said on Saturday.

After a meeting of the defense chiefs of NATO countries in Oslo, Kristoffersen stated at a press conference that Russian President Vladimir Putin “He knows very well” that the alliance does not pose a threat against Russia. “Neither Norway, nor Sweden, nor Finland, nor Poland threaten Russia,” she said. “If he thought we were threatening Russia, he couldn’t have moved her troops to Ukraine to wage war there.”

Norway, a member of NATO since 1949 after the end of World War II, shares a border with Russia in the Arctic along the Kola Peninsula, where most of the Kremlin’s nuclear weapons, as well as its Northern Fleet, are stationed. that operates Russian nuclear submarines. , according to Reuters.

If Russia believed that NATO was a threat, the president of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer added that Moscow would have responded “completely differently” to Finland joining the alliance in April. “They have talked about it, but not in physical terms,” ​​he said at the press conference.

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NATO press conference in Norway

General Eirik Kristoffersen addresses a press conference during the NATO Military Committee Conference in Oslo, Norway, Sept. 16, 2023. (Lise Aserud/NTB/AFP via Getty Images)

Finland and Russia share a border approximately 810 miles long.

“The reason they attacked Ukraine was democracy, freedom, the rule of law and the fact that Ukraine increasingly wanted and wanted to show that it was making its own decisions about its own future,” Bauer continued. “And that is a danger if democracy becomes more and more established and becomes the heart of Ukrainian thought. As we see, that is a danger for the Putin regime.”

Just a few weeks after the Russian invasion Norway decided to move from sending non-lethal aid to anti-tank weapons and other support to Ukraine, Kristoffersen said.

“The Ukrainian people are fighting for their homeland, for their peace, freedom and democracy,” Kristoffersen said. “Our Ukrainian friends are also fighting a battle on our behalf for a functional rules-based world order, which Russia has challenged for years.”

Kristoffersen noted that the five Nordic countries have come together to host NATO allies for training and exercises, noting that once Sweden is formally accepted into the alliance, “it will fundamentally change the way we view defense and deterrence on NATO’s northern flank.

Milley speaks from the Pentagon

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, arrived in Norway for NATO meetings that began on Saturday, September 16. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in Norway for NATO meetings that began Saturday and focused on the war in Ukraine.

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Milley warned reporters that the recent meeting in Russia between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Putin will likely lead North Korea to provide Moscow with Soviet-era 152mm artillery shells. The top US military officer and the other defense chiefs of NATO countries will meet at the Holmenkollen ski area outside Oslo over the next few days to discuss support for Ukraine and other regional defense issues.

From there, Milley will attend the monthly meeting of the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group in Germany on Tuesday. That group, headed by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, is the main international forum for garnering military support for Ukraine.

Putin and Kim Jong Un

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un examine a launch pad outside the town of Tsiolkovsky on Wednesday, September 13, 2023. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin pool photo via AP)

The NATO meetings come as Ukrainian forces advance slowly, breaking Russian battle lines in a counteroffensive that has not moved as quickly or as well as initially expected, according to The Associated Press. kyiv’s leaders are pushing for a new round of advanced weapons, including longer-range missiles.

Meanwhile, four F-35 fighter jets landed Thursday at an air base in Denmark in the first delivery of U.S.-made jets ordered by the NATO member to replace its aging fleet of F-16s, some of which have been promised to Ukraine.

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Last month, the two countries said they would donate F-16 aircraft to Ukraine, with Denmark pledging 19 and the Netherlands an unspecified number. Denmark said it would first need to receive new F-35s, and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said in August that she hoped the first six F-16s could be delivered to Ukraine around the New Year.

NATO member Norway has also indicated its intention to donate F-16s to Ukraine.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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