May and June are hectic months for the Norwegian Armed Forces and our allies, with several major military exercises. In other words, we are in a period of major allied – and Russian – activity at sea outside Norway.

Approximately 4,000 personnel from thirteen NATO and partner nations are preparing for exercise Formidable Shield. The exercise takes place at sea from 8–26 May in the High North Region and the North Atlantic Ocean. The goal is to demonstrate allied interoperability in a live-fire joint and combined Integrated Air and Missile Defense environment, using NATO command and control structures.

The Russian fleet tanker “Kama” in the North Sea on 3 May 2023. Photo by the Norwegian Armed Forces

Parallel to this, Russian maritime forces have activities in connection with Victory Day on 9 May. Right now, there are several Russian vessels operating in the North Sea, and this activity is the highest since before the pandemic.

The Norwegian Armed Forces emphasize that the Russian vessels are sailing in international waters, and that their activity is legitimate and in line with international law.

The Norwegian Armed Forces monitor the Russian activity closely, and we do this continuously together with our allies. We are familiar with the activity, and we have a good picture of what is happening outside our coast.