What’s Russia up to ?

Russia Seeks Several Military Bases Abroad – Defense Minister

Russia Seeks Several Military Bases Abroad – Defense MinisterRussia Seeks Several Military Bases Abroad – Defense Minister

MOSCOW, February 26 (RIA Novosti) – Russia is planning to expand its permanent military presence outside its borders by placing military bases in a number of foreign countries, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday.

Shoigu said the list includes Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, the Seychelles, Singapore and several other countries.

“The talks are under way, and we are close to signing the relevant documents,” Shoigu told reporters in Moscow.

The minister added that the negotiations cover not only military bases but also visits to ports in such countries on favorable conditions as well as the opening of refueling sites for Russian strategic bombers on patrol.

Moscow currently has only one naval base outside the former Soviet Union – in Tartus, Syria, but the fate of this naval facility is uncertain because of the ongoing civil war in that country.

Post-Soviet Russia closed a large naval base in Vietnam and a radar base in Cuba in 2002 due to financial constraints.

However, Russia has started reviving its navy and strategic aviation since mid-2000s, seeing them as a tool to project the Russian image abroad and to protect its national interests around the globe.

Now, Moscow needs to place such military assets in strategically important regions of the world to make them work effectively toward the goal of expanding Russia’s global influence.

Keep an Eye on North Korea…

North Korea moves missile with ‘considerable range’ to coast, says Seoul

South Korea’s defence minister confirms move, but says North is showing no other signs of preparing for full-scale conflict

North Korean Musudan-class missiles displayed during a 2012 military parade

South Korea’s description suggests the weapon in question may be a Musudan-class missile, shown here on display during a 2012 military parade. Photograph: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

South Korea‘s defence minister has confirmed that Pyongyang has moved a missile with “considerable range” to its east coast, but said there were no signs that North Korea was preparing for a full-scale conflict despite the continuing standoff.

The confirmation from Kim Kwan-jin came hours after North Korea’s military announced it had been authorised to attack the US using “smaller, lighter and diversified” nuclear weapons.

Kim said he did not know why the North had moved the missile, but suggested it “could be for testing or drills”.

He dismissed Japanese media speculation that the missile could be a KN-08, which is believed to be a long-range missile that – if operable – could hit the US.

Kim told a parliamentary committee meeting that although the missile had considerable range, it was not sufficient to hit the US mainland.

His description could suggest a missile known as the Musudan, which has a range of 3,000km (1,800 miles). That would make Japan and South Korea potential targets along with US bases in both countries.

Map: North Korean missile defence ranges and Guam deployment Map: North Korean missile defence ranges and Guam deploymentThere are doubts, however, about the missile’s accuracy and range, and some suspect that long-range missiles unveiled by Pyongyang at a parade last year were actually mock-ups.

Kim said that if North Korea were preparing for a full-scale conflict, there would be more signs of the mobilisation of troops and supplies.

So far, he said, South Korean military officials had found no evidence of such preparations.

“[North Korea's recent threats] are rhetorical threats,” he said. “I believe the odds of a full-scale provocation are small.”

He did, however, add that North Korea might mount a small-scale provocation as it did in 2010, when it shelled a South Korean island, killing four people.

The Pentagon announced on Wednesday night that it would deploy a missile defence system known as the terminal high altitude area defence system to the US Pacific territory of Guam to strengthen regional protection against a possible attack.

The deployment is the biggest indication yet that Washington regards North Korea’s sabre-rattling as more worrying than similar threats over the past few years. It also suggests the US is preparing for a long standoff.

The $800m (£529m) battery was not due for deployment until 2015, but will now be in place within weeks. There had been debate within the Pentagon about deploying it first to the Middle East to protect Israel, but the threat from North Korea is now viewed as more serious.

A Pentagon statement said the deployment was “a precautionary move to strengthen our regional defence posture against the North Korean regional ballistic missile threat”.

On Wednesday, the US defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, said North Korea posed “a real and clear danger” to South Korea, Japan and the US.

“They have a nuclear capacity now,” he told the National Defense University in Washington. “They have a missile delivery capacity now. And so, as they have ratcheted up their bellicose, dangerous rhetoric, and some of the actions they have taken over the last few weeks, present a real and clear danger.”

His response contrasted with more muted comments by other members of the Obama administration over the past few days as they sought to reduce tensions.

China also voiced strong fears about rising tensions on the Korean peninsula. Its foreign ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, told reporters in Beijing that the country’s deputy foreign minister, Zhang Yesui, had expressed serious concern over the crisis at a meeting with ambassadors from the US and South Korea.

“In the present situation, China believes all sides must remain calm and exercise restraint and not take actions which are mutually provocative and must certainly not take actions which will worsen the situation,” Lei said.

North Korea followed Tuesday’s announcement that it would resume operations to produce weapons-grade plutonium by barring South Korean workers from entering a jointly-run industrial complex.

The Kaesong industrial complex, six miles north of the heavily fortified border that has separated the two countries for six decades, is viewed as the last remaining symbol of co-operation.

The North has disrupted operations at Kaesong before, but Wednesday’s move caused particular concern as South Korea and the US attempt to respond to a catalogue of provocations by Pyongyang.

The disruption at Kaesong, which draws on investment from more than 100 South Korean firms and employs workers from both countries, was seen by some experts as a sign of a swift deterioration in an already tense situation.

In recent weeks, North Korea has threatened a nuclear attack against the US and its overseas bases – a hollow threat, experts say, given the regime’s relatively primitive nuclear and missile technology – and declared a “state of war” with South Korea.

China is North Korea’s only remaining ally and its biggest aid donor. Its description of the situation in such bleak terms is being interpreted as a sign of growing frustration with the unpredictable behaviour of the 30-year-old North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

5th Annual World Healing Conference

The gathering for the 5th Annual World Healing project will take place on Thursday, April 18th, 2013 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at my place in Innisfil, Ontario which is south of Barrie and just north of Bradford/Newmarket, Ontario.  We will continue to include joyfully the many that are choosing to participate long distance in the conference and welcome all who still wish to join in person or from the comfort of their own homes! The gather will be taped and I can send you the mP3 audio file of the evening events.  The Event will include guided meditation for your own personal healing, healing and blessings for the Planet, energy experiments with soil and water plus a discourse and message from Spirit as to the Earth Changes taking place and those expected!  Let me know if you wish to attend by emailing info@schoolofetherichealing.com or sign up at www.schoolofetherichealing.com

In Light and in Peace,

Kathy Roseborough

 

4th Annual World Healing Conference

The 4th Annual World Healing Conference was a successful day of healing for everyone! It’s not too late for you to be involved!

Purchase now and receive the entire conference audio recording!

There is a guided meditation for your own emotional healing and the Solar Angel removes energy blocks from the Heart to Throat Chakra path! Amazing!

Plus…a very powerful Global Healing and a Water Healing guided meditation! It would be best to put a glass of water sitting right in front of you. The energy transfer through you will make you feel wonderful. Drink that water, share, pour some on your garden..whatever you wish! You can do this energy healing again and again!

Cost:  $45 (Please note that your PayPal invoice will indicate the School of Etheric Healing)

Buy now

Greenpeace Canada – thank you for letting us know about our Gov’t slack

  • Federal government refuses to protect caribou

    Blogpost by Catharine Grant, Forest Campaigner – January 27, 2012 at 10:49 Add comment

    Grey WolfEnvironment Minister Peter Kent is still refusing to issue an emergency order to protect Alberta’s woodland caribou, despite a court order last July asking him to in light of scientific evidence.

    Kent has suggested that the existing recovery plan in Alberta will address the need of the species in that province. However, the plan has been heavily criticized for relying on shooting wolves, a natural predator of caribou, instead of protecting habitat from damaging industrial practices.

    Kent was ordered in July to issue the emergency, but remained silent until environmental lawyers, representing a group of Alberta First Nations, filed a request with the court last week to force the minister to comply with the judge’s ruling.

    Kent’s rationale for continuing to deny the emergency order is that some herds in Canada are sustainable, so losing herds in Alberta will not pose an immediate risk to the species across Canada. This is despite scientific evidence that more than 50% of woodland caribou herds are not self-sustaining and face risk of imminent extirpation, according to a 2009 Environment Canada report.

    Science shows that habitat destruction is the main driver of caribou decline, not natural predation. Yet Kent prefers to rely on a strategy that kills wolves in the name of caribou protection. Wolves are a natural part of a healthy Boreal ecosystem, and culling them could cause a myriad of unintended ecological consequences. Moreover, it won’t actually save caribou from extinction in the long-run. By scapegoating wolves for the decline of caribou, Minister Kent is drawing attention away from the real caribou killer: the expansion of the tar sands.

    It is likely that without immediate habitat protection, the species will be permanently extirpated in Alberta. The Canadian government, however, prefers to protect the interest of the tar sands instead of species at risk.

    Tell Environment Minister Peter Kent to take real action to save caribou: by saving their habitat.

Japanese Tsunami Debris

Japanese tsunami debris washes up on U.S. West Coast nine months after disaster (and there’s 100 MILLION more tons on its way)

By Michael Zennie

Last updated at 5:10 PM on 16th December 2011

Large black floats are the first remnants of Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami to begin washing up on the American coastline.

The debris traveled 4,500 miles on Pacific Ocean currents, pushed by wind and water, to reach the beaches of Neah Bay in far northwestern Washington state 280 days after the Japanese disaster.

Some 100 million tons of debris — from wrecked fishing vessels to household furniture and even body parts — is bearing down on the West Coast, raising environmental fears about the impact of massive amounts of wreckage clogging beaches.

Washed ashoreFound: This large float made its way from Japan to Neah Bay, Washington, in about 280 days. Several have been found washed ashore in North America

Tsunami mapAcross the ocean: Currents and winds carried the floats across vast expanses of the Pacific Ocean

The debris is even more massive and moving much faster than originally predicted. Initial projections said 5 to 20 million tons of waste would take three years to reach American shores.

Now, scientists say, 100 million tons could be here in just one year.

One float, the size of a 55-gallon drum, was found in Washington two weeks ago, another was reportedly discovered in Vancouver, Canada.

 

The 9.0 magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami that struck the eastern coast of Japan March 11 killed more than 15,000 people and washed homes, boats and human lives out to sea.

Anything that floated is now riding Pacific currents. According to computer predictions from the University of Hawaii, most of it is headed for an area between southern Alaska and southern California.

The researchers in Hawaii predicted most of the debris will reach the US mainland in three years.

Jim Ingraham First arrivals: Oceanographer Jim Ingraham says the Japanese float is the first of millions of tons of debris likely to reach the shore

Floating debrisPieces of Japanese life: All manner of debris was swept out to sea in the tsunami March 11 and is now headed for US coastlines

However, oceanographers Curtis Ebbesmeyer and Jim Ingraham said some of the flotsam appears to be traveling much faster and could hit the West Coast in less than a year, the Peninsula Daily News reported.

Most debris travels at about 7 miles per day, the Seattle scientists said, but pieces can cover up to 20 miles in a day if they are big enough for the wind to push them.

The large black drums averaged about 16 miles per day to reach Neah Bay in Washington.

The University of Hawaii team also predicted the debris was about 5 to 20 million tons.

However Mr Ebbesmeyer and Ingraham say the errant Japanese flotsam could be five times that amount, about 100 million tons.

Sailors and the US Navy have spotted all manner of shards of Japanese life in the massive debris fields that are floating the currents.

In October, the crew of a Russian ship spotted televisions and refrigerators riding the current. Parts of homes, and a wrecked 20-foot fishing vessel have also been seen.

DebrisSalvaged: Crew members of a Russian training ship pulled in a fishing boat from Japan that was found 2,000 miles out to sea

Debris discoveryMassive wreckage: The debris field in the Pacific Ocean has been spread out in an area even larger than Japan itself

Body parts are also expected to wash up on US shores, the Daily News reported.

The two researches said beachcombers who find any debris with identifying marks – such as Japanese writing – should contact authorities so it can be returned.

Families lost everything when their homes were washed away by the giant wall of water, Mr Ebbesmeyer said. Anything they can reclaim from the sea could help them recover from the disaster.

 

 

New York Times report on Durban Climate Event

Another Try for a Global Climate Effort

By
Published: November 27, 2011

WASHINGTON — With intensifying climate disasters and global economic turmoil as the backdrop, delegates from 194 nations gather in Durban, South Africa, this week to try to advance, if only incrementally, the world’s response to dangerous climate change.

To those who have followed the negotiations of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change over their nearly 20-year history, the conflicts and controversies to be taken up in Durban are monotonously familiar — the differing obligations of industrialized and developing nations, the question of who will pay to help poor nations adapt, the urgency of protecting tropical forests, the need to develop and deploy clean energy technology rapidly.

The negotiating process itself is under fire from some quarters, including the poorest nations, who believe their needs are neglected in the fight among the major economic powers. Criticism is also coming from a relatively small but vocal band of climate change skeptics — many of them sitting members of the U.S. Congress — who doubt human influence on the climate and ridicule international efforts to address it.

But scientists warn that this squabbling serves only to delay actions that must be taken to reduce climate-altering emissions and to fortify vulnerable nations’ ability to respond to the changes they say are surely coming — indeed, that many say are already here.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or I.P.C.C., is the global body of scientists and statisticians that provides the technical underpinning of the U.N. talks. The Durban meeting is the 17th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. convention on climate change, or COP 17.

A few weeks ago, the panel released a detailed assessment of the increasing frequency of extreme climate events like droughts, floods and cyclones, noting the necessity of moving quickly to take steps to reduce emissions and adapt to the inevitable damage.

“All of these indicate that inaction in dealing with climate change and delays would only expose human society and all living species to risk that could become serious,” Rajendra K. Pachauri, the director of the I.P.C.C., wrote by e-mail from the headquarters of his institute in New Delhi. “I am afraid deliberations at the COP would only focus on short-term political considerations.”

The stakes are beyond monumental, critics point out, but the delegates in Durban will be addressing relatively small and, to many people, arcane, questions of process and finance.

Many negotiators, having entered the U.N. climate talks at Copenhagen two years ago with grand ambitions, left disillusioned and are now defining expectations downward and hoping to keep the U.N. process alive through modest steps.

Last year at Cancún, Mexico, delegates produced an agreement that set up a new fund to help poor countries adapt to climate changes, created new mechanisms for the transfer of clean energy technology, provided compensa- tion for the preservation of tropical forests and enshrined the emissions reductions promises that came out of the Copenhagen meeting.

Negotiators postponed until Durban the politically freighted question of whether to extend the frayed Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 agreement that requires most wealthy nations to trim emissions while providing assistance to developing countries to pursue a cleaner energy path. Also still on the agenda are the structure and the sources of financing of a climate adaptation and technology fund that is supposed to reach $100 billion a year by 2020.

The most contentious question — and in some ways perhaps the least important — revolves around the future of Kyoto, which requires the major industrialized nations to meet emissions reduction targets while imposing no mandates on developing countries, including such emerging economic powers and sources of global greenhouse gas emissions as Brazil, China, India and South Africa. The United States is not a party to the protocol, having refused to consider ratifying it because of its asymmetrical obligations.

The protocol is up for renewal next year with some major countries, including Canada, Japan and Russia, saying they will not agree to an extension unless it is fundamentally changed to remove the unbalanced requirements for developing and developed countries. That is similar to the U.S. position, which is that any successor treaty must apply equally to all major economies, including fast-growing developing countries like China and India.

But the European Union, the major developing countries, and most African and Pacific island nations would like to see the Kyoto process extended as a prelude to a binding international agreement after 2020 to reduce emissions to the level needed to keep the global average temperature increase to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), the point beyond which climate changes are believed to be catastrophic.

Todd Stern, the chief U.S. climate negotiator, said he was flexible as to the form such a future agreement would take and even the timetable for reaching it, though he expected it would be post-2020, after the various Kyoto and Cancún agreements have run their courses.

He said that all countries, including the United States, must take meaningful unilateral steps to control their carbon dioxide emissions, with the obligations greatest among the 20 or so largest economies, which are responsible for more than 80 percent of global carbon output.

“In reality, the most effective thing we can do to address climate change is for all relevant countries to act vigorously at home,” Mr. Stern said, noting that most countries have adopted emissions targets or national action plans that will be followed regardless of the negotiations toward a future agreement.

“At the same time,” he added, “climate is a classic ‘global commons’ problem, where each country needs confidence that others are acting. So international cooperation is important, and this then takes you to the core international issue: You can’t rationally address this problem at the international level unless you get all the major economies, developed and developing, acting in a common system.”

The United States has been criticized at these gatherings for years, in part because it does not accept the Kyoto framework and in part because it has not adopted a comprehensive domestic program for reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions. President Barack Obama has pledged to reduce U.S. emissions 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, but his preferred approach, a nationwide cap-and-trade system for carbon pollution, failed in Congress in 2010. U.S. emissions are down about 6 percent over the past five years, largely because of the drop in industrial and electricity production caused by the recession.

Instead of a cap-and-trade program or a national carbon tax, the administration is promoting a number of discrete steps, including new emissions standards for cars and trucks, limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and refineries, and energy efficiency measures for buildings and appliances. Industry lobbyists and Republicans in Congress have fought against most of these measures, and significant progress seems unlikely in an election year.

U.S. negotiators are also bracing for the now-familiar criticism that the United States has not delivered all the money it promised the most vulnerable countries for climate-change mitigation and adaptation efforts, or has sought credit toward those goals by double-counting money already pledged for other international projects. Administration officials said that Congress had been stingy with all international aid funding and that climate financing programs had suffered along with others.

A group of nations most vulnerable to climate change declared after a meeting in mid-November in Dhaka, Bangladesh, that the rich nations had failed to make good on promises to provide immediate aid.

José María Figueres, a former president of Costa Rica, said that the threatened countries like Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Maldives, Tuvalu and Vietnam, were “insulted” by the default on climate finance. And in a preview of the rich-poor drama that may emerge at Durban, as it has at previous conferences, Mr. Figueres said, “I call on all countries present to occupy Durban.”

Andrew Light, a senior fellow specializing in international climate policy at the Center for American Progress in Washington, said that much of what needs to be done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can be done outside of the U.N. framework.

“All the pledges made by the major emitters are sufficient to get us two-thirds of the reductions we need by 2020,” he said. “It’s possible to get the final third with about $60 billion in additional funding, which is why we need to get this green climate fund going. I don’t expect Durban to resolve where that money is coming from, but I hope they can get the fund itself up and running. That’s the quiet but most important part of the meeting.”

Grand Canyon – Landmark requiring protection

PEW Environment Group

Protect the Grand Canyon from New Uranium Mining

Oppose H.R. 3155, the “Northern Arizona Mining Continuity Act of 2011″

“The one great sight which every American should see.”

- President Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

In October of 2011, the Obama administration announced its support for a long-term ban on new mining claims on roughly 1 million acres of national forest and other public land around Grand Canyon National Park. The move, following more than two years of study, came after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued a temporary halt to claimstaking in response to the skyrocketing number of new claims, mostly for uranium, around the park. The administration’s decision would apply a 20-year moratorium under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, an authority that has been used to protect other places from new mining claims, including Yellowstone National Park and Oregon’s Coos Bay.

Unfortunately, H.R. 3155 would bypass this process and ensure that every one of this million acres around the Grand Canyon remains open to new uranium mining.

Current Mining and Claims Not Affected

The Obama administration’s action to protect the Grand Canyon applies only to future claims; current mining and existing valid claims are not affected. In fact, several uranium mines are operating now, and the Interior Department predicts that another seven may be developed, even with the administration’s moratorium. Without the 20-year “withdrawal,” however, at least 30 mines and more than 725 exploration projects are predicted, potentially transforming an irreplaceable natural treasure into an industrialized mining region.

Research Points to Potential Contamination

grand-canyonOver the past two years, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) carried out research and fieldwork in the area under consideration for mining. Although time limitations and weather constraints kept USGS from taking new surface-water samples, its analysis showed elevated radioactivity in numerous areas that had been mined. The agency concluded that a more thorough investigation was necessary and argued that the 20-year moratorium would offer needed time to ensure that the Colorado River and important groundwater supplies could be protected.

Hundreds of Claims are Associated with Foregn-Owned Companies

A report released in April by the Pew Environment Group, using Bureau of Land Management data, showed that claims around Grand Canyon National Park increased 2,000 percent between 2005 and 2010. Hundreds of these claims are controlled by foreign-owned companies, some with national backing—Russia’s state atomic energy corporation, for example, and South Korea’s state-owned utility.

Tourism Provides Significant and Long-Lasting Jobs and Revenue

Visitors to the Grand Canyon generate $687 million annually in revenue for the region and contribute to the creation of more than 12,000 full-time jobs, according to a 2005 Northern Arizona University study. The employment value of the park as a recreation magnet contrasts sharply with potential mining employment, which is likely to be modest and short-lived. According to industry-provided data compiled by the Interior Department, new mining operations are projected to employ only 75 people during a mine’s estimated seven-year life.

National Leaders, Scholars and Scientists Support Ban

In June 2011, 50 statesmen, scholars and conservation leaders from around the country signed an open letter in The New York Times calling for a moratorium on new mining claims at the Grand Canyon. The list included Theodore Roosevelt IV, film director Ken Burns, historian Douglas Brinkley, World Bank science adviser Thomas Lovejoy, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, leaders of the Navajo Nation and Hualapai Tribal Councils, as well as actors Edward Norton and Robert Redford.

Taxpayers’ Losses Under 1872 Mining Law are Significant

The administration’s action is necessary because the mining of gold, uranium and other hardrock minerals is still governed by a law signed by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. It gives mining companies “free and open access” to millions of acres of public land in the West and, according to the Congressional Budget Office, allows at least $1 billion in valuable metals to be taken from public land every year without taxpayer compensation. The Obama administration and members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have called for modernizing the law.

For more information, please contact:
Geoff Brown I 202-887-8806 I gbrown@pewtrusts.org
Jane Danowitz I 202-552-2132 I jdanowitz@pewtrusts.org

Fact Sheet File: Protect the Grand Canyon from New Uranium Mining

Water Skiing / Speedboating more important than Protecting Nature???

Thou Shalt Not Smite Thy Manatee


Atsushi Sakurai/Minden Pictures

The humble Florida manatee has joined Barack Obama, the United Nations, and the federal deficit as a target of the Citrus County (Florida) Tea Party Patriots. Up to 500 of the gentle, vegetarian “sea cows” overwinter in Citrus County’s warm Kings Bay, drawing thousands of visitors but often getting run over by speedboats. After two endangered manatees were killed last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed making the bay a manatee refuge, where boat speeds would be greatly reduced.

That set off the Tea Party. “We cannot elevate nature above people,” local leader Edna Mattos told the St. Petersburg Times. “That’s against the Bible and the Bill of Rights.”

Further fueling the controversy, explains Patrick Rose, the executive director of the Save the Manatee Club (savethemanatee.org), is the fact that a number of local bigwigs, including the chairman of the local Chamber of Commerce, have houses on the bay and don’t want to be prohibited from water-skiing. Should the issue go to court, Rose predicts, manatee protections will be even greater than in the compromise Fish and Wildlife proposal. “The science is so strong on this,” he says. “There really is no place more dangerous in warm weather for manatees than here in Kings Bay.” —Paul Rauber

Sierra Club -

Norwegian and Russian Border Guards meet annually

Norwegian border guards visit Russia

2011-06-24
Russian Border Commissioner Colonel Bobrov gave all the visiting Norwegians gifts.Russian Border Commissioner Colonel Bobrov gave all the visiting Norwegians gifts.
Photo: Trude Pettersen

Last week the Norwegian and Russian border guard service had their annual exchange event where around 20 soldiers and officers from each country cross the border to see what the daily service is like on the other side.

This year’s event took place in the border guard detachment of Salmijärvi on the Russian side and Elvenes on the Norwegian side.

- Events like this are important in building relations between the two sides guarding the border, Norwegian Border Commissar Colonel Ivar Sakserud told BarentsObserver. – Norwegian and Russian guards jointly constitute one border guard. – You can almost say we have one common border and one common border guard service, he added.

According to Sakserud, the Norwegian soldiers participating in the exchange event are hand-picked from the different detachments and have been looking forwards to this day for a long time.

Head of Sør-Varanger Garrison (GSV) Jørn Erik Berntsen confirms this: – Of course this is a special occasion for the soldiers that are picked out to participate. – At what other place of duty do you get the chance to visit a Russian military camp? – It is only soldiers from GSV who have this privilege.

The 20 boys and girls in the age 19-20 years are about to finish their one-year service in the Norwegian Armed Forces. In Salmijärvi they were shown the newly renovated quarters, where the servicemen either live together with their families in apartments, or in rooms for one, two or three persons. This surprised the Norwegians, who are used to sleep in rooms for eight.

They were shown how the Russians train in recognizing attempts of illegal crossing of the border fence and how they use dogs in the service. The Norwegian soldiers got a thoroughly lesson on how to assembly and disassembly the AK-74 rifle, the Russian border guard’s main weapon, and even got to try shooting with it.

The next day around 20 soldiers and officers from different detachments on the Russian side of the border visited Elvenes border guard station and GSV’s main camp on Høybuktmoen outside Kirkenes, where they got to take a look at different equipment and weapons and shoot with the Norwegians soldiers’ main weapon HK416.