Russia's Northern Fleet went for an extended drill in the southern part of the Norwegian Sea on Thursday. Two vessels, large landing ship “Kondopoga” and destroyer “Vice-Admiral Kulakov” were engaged. The ships fired both heavy artillery and cruise missile system Kinzhal, the fleet's press office reported as quoted by The Barents Observer.
Missile cruiser Admiral Ustinov is nearby, too.
The area where the training is held is located on the brink of the Arctic Circle, not far from Aasta Hansten gas field.
Lt. Gen. Morten Haga Lunde, the Chief of Norwegian Intelligence says that "the exercise close to Norwegian waters should be seen as part of Russia’s bastion defense". "Over the last two years, Russia has exercised the bastion defense concept with surface warships, submarines and aircraft several times in the Norwegian Sea", he said.
Moscow most likely shows its dissatisfaction with this winter’s NATO exercise in this country, Lunde added. According to The Barents Observer, "Cold Response takes place from 2nd to 18th of March, but already now there are visible military activity as some allied participants are arriving to prepare themselves for the exercise".