OSLO – Rumors about Russian special forces in the Svalbard archipelago and mainland Norway are not true, according to the Ministry of Defense, the Armed Forces and the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST).
Refuting rumors spread by local media outlets, a spokesman for the Norwegian Armed Forces told Klassekampen newspaper that “it is completely unknown to the Ministry of Defense and the Norwegian Armed Forces that there was Russian military activity on Norwegian soil. That includes Svalbard,” an archipelago to the north of the Norwegian mainland.
The Norwegian Police Security Service also rejected rumors of Russian surveillance and sabotage exercises.
“We cannot say the news is true,” PST told Klassekampen newspaper in reference to the news about the presence of Russian special forces on Norwegian soil.
Russian military exercise
Last week Russia carried out a military exercise in the Barents Sea, something confirmed by both Russian and Norwegian authorities. The exercise took place near Svalbard, but it never violated any international rules.
Norwegian website AldriMer published on September 27 news that Russian special forces fighters were found in mainland Norway, as well as in the Svalbard archipelago.
Norwegian and NATO intelligence sources were cited by the site, which said Russian military personnel had field reconnaissance in the above-mentioned areas and analyzed major facilities.
According to AldriMer, Russian soldiers were intercepted by US surveillance aircraft. In addition, the site wrote that Russian agents conducted “reconnaissance missions in mainland Norway” posing as civilians.
The Russian embassy in Oslo has criticized news about Russian special forces on Norwegian soil, calling it “fake news” and “crude provocation” designed to bolster defense spending, making a false “Russian threat” as an excuse.
Although the news received little coverage in the Norwegian media, it was widely spread around the world. Now the Norwegian authorities have commented and disregarded the false rumors.