Staunton, Feb. 13 – According to the chief of Norway’s intelligence service, Vice Admiral Andreas Stensønes, Putin has pulled 80 percent of the troops that were stationed opposite the Norwegian border for use in Ukraine, potentially lowering the threshold for nuclear escalation in that region.
A large number of these troops have now died in combat and thus their replacement will require training new soldiers, something that will take time, Thomas Nilsen of The Barents Observer reports (thebarentsobserver.com/ru/bezopasnost/2023/02/norvezhskaya-razvedka-nazemnye-sily-na-kolskom-poluostrove-sokratilis-v-pyat-raz).
Stensønes says that until these forces can be restored, Nilsen reports, “nuclear weapons will temporarily assume a more prominent role in Russia’s regional defense compared with conventional deterrence” and that as a result, “the threshold for nuclear escalation will be lower, also in areas near Norway.”
How much Putin has drawn down Russian forces in border areas is not known nor is it known how long it will take to restore the forces to the levels they were at before the Ukrainian war. But it is disturbing that a senior intelligence official of a NATO country should be speaking about this leading to a lowering of Russia’s threshold for going nuclear.