Norway Joins Training of Ukrainian Soldiers Amid Calls to Produce Arms for Kiev
05:03 GMT 12.08.2022 (Updated: 20:56 GMT 19.10.2022)
Norway became the last Nordic nation to join the UK-led training project, aligning itself with its Scandinavian neighbors and peers that previously pledged to contribute between 20 and 130 instructors each.
Norway will contribute to the training of Ukrainian soldiers in the UK, Norwegian Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram of the Center Party has confirmed.
“The Ukrainian forces are in dire need of further training and education. Norway is positive about the British initiative to train Ukrainian soldiers in the UK. We will participate with instructors for this basic soldier training, like several other countries,” the defense minister said in a statement during the donor conference for Ukraine held in the Danish capital of Copenhagen.
Gram emphasized the importance of further Western support of Ukraine against Russia's special operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify the country, as well as protect the inhabitants of Donbass from Kiev's atrocities. The West has condemned the operation as an invasion on Moscow's part.
He described the three key points in going forward as “coordination, predictability and sustainability”.
“We must also move from donations of individual systems from our own stockpiles to more purchases directly from the defense industry. We must provide funds for this, and support Ukraine in the procurement processes. We will continue to stand by Ukraine for a long time. At the same time, the Ukrainians must build up their own capacity for management and planning, and the Western countries must help them with this,” the defense minister concluded.
At the same time, similar thoughts were voiced by the Liberal Party of Norway, which “impatiently”, in its own words, called on the government to heed NATO's advice about buying weapons directly from the arms industry and sending them to Ukraine. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg last week stressed the need for the Norwegian authorities to sit down with the defense industry and ask what they can produce. Earlier that week, Stoltenberg had received a concrete list of wishes from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Everyone understands that Norway doesn't have an infinite number of weapons in stock. It may be time to start producing,” Liberals leader Guri Melby told the newspaper Klassekampen.
Previously, Norway has trained Ukrainian soldiers in the use of the M109 artillery, which it also donated. The training took place in Germany.
Norway became the last Nordic nation to join the UK-led training project. Earlier, Sweden, Finland and Denmark pledged to contribute 120, 20 and 130 instructors respectively. All of them have also announced several tranches of arms assistance, which Russian officials described as “pouring fuel on the fire of conflict.”