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On a Tiny Norwegian Island, America Keeps an Eye on Russia

The bedrock of Russia’s Arctic ambitions, said Katarzyna Zysk, an associate professor at the Norwegian Institute of Defense Studies, is the role of the region in Russia’s nuclear deterrence and naval strategies. At the center of these is the Borei submarine, a new generation of strategic weaponry that can carry at least 12 ballistic missiles, each armed with multiple nuclear warheads.

The first of at least eight Borei class submarines that Russia plans to build, the Yuriy Dolgorukiy, is now part of Russia’s Northern Fleet. Russia operates more than 200 submarines, including six Delta IVs armed with multiple ballistic missiles, from a string of bases on the Kola Peninsula, which is just 40 miles across the churning sea from Vardo.

“This place is very, very important for America and for the Western world so that they can keep an eye on what the Russians are doing,” said Lasse Haughom, a former mayor of Vardo and a veteran of Norway’s military intelligence service.

“Russia wants to look into our secrets, and the United States and Norway want to look into their business,” Mr. Haughom added. “That is the way the game is played.”

The game began in Vardo in the early stages of the Cold War with the construction of a primitive early warning radar. But instead of calming with the end of the Soviet Union more than a quarter-century ago, this perilous contest has now entered a new and, for Russia, alarming stage with the start of work in Vardo on a sophisticated new radar system known as Globus 3.

Source: NYT > World

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