It was in the beginning of march that Nato’s high command and the british government received the first messages. A larger Russian force was on the way into an area which lies to the south in the north Sea. They had course to the south toward the English channel, where it was also observed Russian vessels.

the Information was considered sensational. It is rare that so many Russian warships entering areas controlled by Nato.

the Answer came quickly. A group of vessels from Nato’s standing naval force went out to monitor the russians. The strength was led by the Norwegian ” KNM “Otto Sverdrup”.

The Russian krigsskipene found themselves in the area over several days. On some occasions they came very close to the vessels from Nato that came with them.

KNM “Otto Sverdrup”

Nato forces carried out the operation. The norwegians carried out the mission together with nine british vessels from the Royal Navy. In addition, attended a Danish frigate and a German supply ship.

the Crew on board the KNM “Otto Sverdrup”.

Photo: Defense

Norway participates in Nato’s standing maritime strength and are set to monitor the area off the coast of the Uk. According to Sky News were also several helicopters used to keep up with the russians.

The Nato-led sjøstyrken followed the seven Russian krigsskipene over several days. Part of the Russian force moved across areas south of the north Sea and the british channel.

– It was completely necessary for us to go into the area where the Russian ships stayed. The Russian military presence increased significantly in a short period of time, and it is unusual. It happened within a small area that is highly trafficked, ” says Yngve Skoglund. He is flaggkommandør and leads the Nato standing maritime force in the area. Skoglund is on board the KNM “Otto Sverdrup”.

Yngve Skoglund leads the Nato standing maritime force. Here he is on the board of KNM “Otto Sverdrup”.

Photo: Jakob Østheim / Defense “Exceptionally high” activity

Sources in the british overkommandoen confirms that the Russian military activity was rated as sensational and “exceptionally high”.

It is currently unclear why Russia sent such a large militærstyrke to the area between the united Kingdom and south-west Norway. It was planned Nato exercises in these waters, but several were cancelled at short notice due to koronaepidemien.

KNM “Otto Sverdrup” outside Andøya in Nordland. The picture is taken 6. september 2019.

According to the newspaper The Guardian, citing military sources, the Russian presence be a planned response on the storøvelsen Cold Response in Norway. It was also cancelled because of koronaepidemien.

– It is plain that the vessels from the Nato alliance and the Russian navy keeps an eye on each other. It takes place mostly in a professional and orderly manner. It is not unusual that the Russian vessels in the north Sea. What was special this time was that so many military vessels stayed in a busy havstrekk over such a long time, ” says Skoglund.

Just before the Russian vessels entered the north Sea were the two Russian bombers of the type Tu-142 observed at the Shetland islands. British fighters went on the wings and followed them up close. Bombers went south towards great Britain, before they returned home again, according to the BBC.

Russian bomber of type Tu-142 at the Shetland islands. The picture is taken 11. march.

Koronautfordringer

For ” KNM “Otto Sverdrup” had the mission in the north Sea a few extra challenges. Koronakrisen do that the vessel cannot go into the country. The crew will avoid to get virussmitte on board.

If it should be replaced, the crew there are strict karanteneregler that apply.

– We can of course not be 100 percent confident that we don’t get the virus on board. If that happens then we have procedures so that in as little as possible affects our ability to perform missions. We can implement isolation, quarantine or evacuation of the infected, ” says Yngve Skoglund.