Norwegian prime minister sees Russian military buildup as sign of weakness


Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said he sees Russia's military buildup along the Ukrainian border as a sign of weakness.

Støre said he believes concerns should be heard at the negotiating table, not through military buildup.

"Politically, for me, it is a sign of weakness in a way that you have to express your views and your interest by that kind of military demonstration, because it is at the table when you deal with the issues that matter to people," Støre said in an interview with The Associated Press published Wednesday.

Russia has demanded that NATO, of which Norway is a founding member, refuse to allow Ukraine and other former Soviet countries into its alliance, among other demands. The Russian government has amassed more than 100,000 troops at the Ukraine border, claiming security concerns and prompting much of Europe, the U.S. and Canada to be on high alert for a Russian invasion.

Russia, for its part, has denied that it will invade Ukraine.

Støre also said that Russia's demands of NATO are the result of a communication breakdown following the Cold War. The lack of communication resulted in differences that were settled through negotiation after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014, the prime minister told the AP.

"So there have been more kind of animosity and destructive relations among countries that need to engage," Støre told the AP.

Støre also stressed that 21st-century Europe doesn't solve political issues by a single nation, saying Russia playing the guessing game indicates that "we should be firm, predictable and clear on principles," according to the AP.

The Norwegian leader's remarks come the same day that the U.S. delivered a written response to Russia's security demands.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the development Wednesday but did not detail what was in the response. However, he said that President Biden was personally involved in the drafting of the response, offering edits.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan delivered the document to Moscow.

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