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Three Russian officers posing in front of a Norwegian F-35 - Photo:Forsvaret

Russian officers visited Ørland Main Air Station

Officers from the Russian Federation conducted an evaluation visit to the 132 Airwing at Ørland Main Air Station on Tuesday 3 July according to the Vienna Document 2011.

The Vienna Document 2011 is an agreement between the participating states of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on confidence and security building measures (CSBM). Its provisions includes among others an annual exchange of military information, mechanisms for risk reduction including consultation about unusual military activities and hazardous incidents, visits to airbases and military facilities, prior information of, and observation of, certain large scale military exercises, inspections of military activity and evaluation visits to military units. Norway as all of the other OSCE participating States is obliged to receive one evaluation visit a year, except Russia and France which have to accept two.

On 25th of June, Norway received a request from the Russian Federation to conduct an evaluation visit of 132 Air Wing at ├śrland Main Air Station. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs accepted the request the next day. A team of three Russian officers performed the visit on 3rdJuly. This is the third year in a row that the Russian Federation chose this Air Wing. Previous years Russia has had their focus on the Brigade North.  The Russian team was at all time when in Norway escorted by officers from the Norwegian Arms Control Branch.

The evaluation visit began with a comprehensive briefing given by the Commander of 132 Air Wing concerning its organization, history, major weapons and equipment systems, personnel, training, and activity. The Russian evaluation team was shown the major weapons and equipment systems as the new F-35 Combat Aircraft and the old F-16, visited the F-16 Squadron, and were given a presentation on the Armed Forces' infrastructure projects at ├śrlandet. They also visited the control tower where they could observe the take-off of several F-35. The Russian team had the opportunity to ask questions and talk to soldiers and officers along the way.

After the visit they attended a wreath laying ceremony at the memorial over fallen Russian prisoners of war during World War II.

Upon return, the Russian team will write a report on this evaluation visit, which will be distributed to all participating States in the OSCE. This is also part of the Vienna Document's function as a confidence- and security-building measure. 

Norway has also the opportunity to visit Russian forces through the Vienna Document. Last time was in January 2016, when Norwegian officers visited the 200 Separate Motor Rifle Brigade in Pechenga on the Kola Peninsula.

The original article can be found here (Norwegian only):