BRITISH and US marines are among some of the 8,000 Nato troops deployed to Norway for an Arctic warfare exercise to be carried out just miles away from the Russian border.
The Joint Viking exercise will be conducted between 100 and 186 miles away from the Russian border as Nato forces will simulate combat in freezing conditions.
Around 700 members of the British Royal Marine, US Marine Corps and US Army are taking part in the joint military exercise, which begun yesterday.
The drills will take place across nearly 80 square miles, in forested and mountainous terrain.
Fighter jets, helicopters and transport aircrafts will be involved in the military operation which has led to a ban of civilian drones for the duration of the drills.
Norway’s military spokesman Ivar Moen said: “The Armed Forces will have a lot of activity in the air, with fighter jets, helicopters and transport aircraft. To ensure safety in the air, we therefore introduced a drone ban.”
The Joint Viking exercise will be conducted between 100 & 186 miles away from Russia border
The annual exercise will take place mainly along Norway’s coastline between Lakselv and Alta in Finnmark, which is scheduled to run until March 15.
Norway had previously been reluctant to hold military exercises involving foreign troops due to Putin’s paranoia that Western forces may launch a surprise attack on the former communist nation.
This year Moscow had been forewarned of the military exercises.
Norway’s Armed Forces website claimed the primary goals of the exercise was to practice crisis management and the defence of Norway.
Previous Joint Viking exercises had been held in Hordaland in 2013, Tromso in 2014, Finnmark in 2015 and Trøndelag in 2016.
Boris Johnson had previously claimed Russia is “up to no good” and that Moscow must rollback on its meddling in foreign affairs.