Russia to test missiles near military exercise area in Norway: NATO chief

Snipers train in NATO 'Trident Juncture' exercise Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team Norway Oct 30, 2018, 08.29 PM (IST)

As NATO kicked-off Trident Juncture 18 military exercise in western Norway, NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said Russia planned to test missiles near the area.

"We were notified last week about the planned Russian missile tests outside the coast here," NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said, adding,"I expect Russia to behave in a professional way."

Russia will be testing the missiles from November 1st to 3rd in the Norwegian Sea, Norway was informed by Putin's government. The NATO exercise is taking place along Norway's far north border with Russia.

"We will, of course, monitor closely what Russia does but they operate in international waters and they have notified us in the normal way," Stoltenberg while declaring that the missile tests won't change the exercise plan.

Russia had earlier denounced the military exercise calling it "provocative, even if you try to justify it as being of a purely defensive nature." Stoltenberg had hit back saying "NATO does not seek confrontation but we stand ready to defend all allies against any threat."

The mega exercise involving over 50,000 NATO troops including those from Finland and Sweden come in the backdrop of US pulling out of the Nuclear Forces treaty(NFT) which was signed by former President Ronald Regan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signalling the end of the cold war.

Stoltenburg had backed the US move adding that "Russia now is in violation of the INF" fueling Russian antagonism.

The exercise which started on October 25th will continue till November 7th in central and eastern Norway including in Iceland, Finland and Sweden.