The joint American-Norwegian radar project, which will cost hundreds of millions of dollars and consume substantial amounts of electricity, has infuriated Moscow, which sees it as part of a Pentagon drive to encircle and contain Mr. Putin’s resurgent Russia. The Russian ambassador in Oslo, Norway’s capital, recently warned Norway that it should “not be naïve” about Russia’s readiness to respond.
“Norway has to understand that after becoming an outpost of NATO, it will have to face head-on Russia and Russian military might,” the ambassador, Teimuraz Ramishvili, told Norway’s state broadcaster, NRK. “Therefore, there will be no peaceful Arctic anymore.”
The new radar system at Vardo will merely upgrade an earlier American-built radar system and continue its mission, Morten Haga Lunde, the chief of Norway’s military intelligence agency, said in a cryptic statement last year. That mission, he added, is to track space debris like defunct satellites and to “monitor our national area of interest in the North.”
But Russia’s generals and many Norwegians have dismissed the space-trash story. They say they believe that the new Globus 3 radar is part of the Pentagon’s efforts to develop a global missile-defense system, making it a prime target for attack in the event of a conflict.