Independent Barents Observer
March 9, 2023

Key NATO commanders teamed up with newcomer Sweden at northern border with Russia

“I’m very happy about the political decision to become a part of NATO,” says Lieutenant general Carl-Johan Edström, Chief of Joint Operations with the Swedish Armed Forces. On Thursday, he flew north together with the largest group of top NATO officers that ever has been at Norway’s land border with Russia.

“Now we can be a part of a huge NATO organization…at the moment with a war in Europe,” Edström says.

Visiting Stockholm this week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the accession of Sweden and Finland “is a top priority, and we are making progress.”

The officers from different countries and command structures of NATO came directly to Kirkenes airport from the ongoing exercise Joint Viking currently taking place in the Troms region, further west in Northern Norway.

At Pasvik Border Station, the group got a briefing about the Norwegian-Russian border….

Leaders from two of NATO’s three operational commands were present in Pasvik, the Joint Force Command (JFC) Norfolk in the United States and Joint Force Command Brunnsum in the Netherlands.

Rear-Admiral Tim Henry is second-in-command at JFC Norfolk [said]:

“Here we are in Finnmark today very close to the Russian border. It is very important, we are in Norway on NATO territory and this is fundamental to NATO’s thinking and planning, to deter and to defend. This is the center to this part of this area,” Henry says.


US Expeditionary Forces and Airborne Troops have more or less constantly been training together with the Finnish and Swedish Army and Air Forces since…last year.


Russia’s fleet of ballistic missile submarines, armed with nuclear warheads that can reach North American territories, are based in Gadziyevo on the coast to the Barents Sea, some 100 kilometers from the border to Norway.

Top leaders from NATO’s command structure met at Pasvik Border Station next to Norway’s borderline with Russia in the north. Photo: Thomas Nilsen.