The USS Gerald R. Ford, the world’s largest aircraft carrier, arrived into Oslo on Wednesday, a first for such a US ship, in a display of NATO power at a time of heightened tensions between NATO and Russia over the Ukraine crisis.
According to the Norwegian military, the ship and her crew will perform training exercises with the Norwegian armed forces around the country’s coast in the following days.
“This visit is an important signal of the US-Norway close bilateral relationship, as well as a signal of the credibility of collective defense and deterrence,” said Jonny Karlsen, a spokeswoman for the Norwegian Joint Headquarters, the military’s operational command center.
Norwegian media reported the aircraft carrier would sail north of the Arctic Circle. Karlsen declined to comment on the reports.
The Russian embassy in Oslo condemned the aircraft carrier’s Oslo visit.
“There are no questions in the (Arctic) north that require a military solution, nor topics where outside intervention is needed,” the embassy said in a Facebook post.
“Considering that it is admitted in Oslo that Russia poses no direct military threat to Norway, such demonstrations of power appear illogical and harmful.”
NATO member Norway shares a border with Russia in the Arctic and last year became Europe’s largest gas supplier after a drop in Russian gas flows.
The Norwegian military and NATO allies have been patrolling around offshore oil and gas platforms since the autumn, following explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea.