Around 300 personnel from the US Marines Corps landed in Norway on Monday (16 January) on a training mission that would last for six months. The marines will be hosted by the Norwegian Home Guards at the Vaernes military base, located around 1,500km from the Russian border.
Rune Haarstad, a Home Guards spokesperson said, "For the first four weeks they [American Marines] will have basic winter training, learn how to cope with skis and to survive in the Arctic environment. It has nothing to do with Russia or the current situation."
The marines will also take part in Joint Viking exercises in March along with British troops, the spokesperson added. The mission is part of a bilateral agreement between the two countries.
According to Reuters, American soldiers will remain in Norway for up to a year and the current batch of Marines will be replaced after six months.
The deployment of US Marines has not gone well with Moscow as a spokesperson from Russia's Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova told Norway's public broadcaster NRK that the move will "certainly will not improve relations".
"The relationship between Norway and Russia is put to a test now. Instead of developing economic cooperation, Norway is choosing to deploy United States troops on Norwegian soil," she said of the deployment.
Meanwhile, Ine Eriksen Soreide, Norway's Defence Minister said that Russia has no reason to panic over the presence of US Marines. A Norwegian defence ministry spokesperson also confirmed that the Marines' arrival had nothing to do with Russia.
Relations between the West and Russia soured after Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014.
However, President-elect Donald Trump caused an alarm in Europe after he questioned if the US should defend Nato allies. In an interview to The Times, Trump said, "Nato is obsolete because it isn't taking care of terror," and added, "[they] aren't paying what they're supposed to be paying [which] is very unfair to the United States."