OSLO — Norway said Wednesday it had observed an increasing number of Russian military jets near its airspace last year, amid President Vladimir Putin’s massive rearmament plan.
The Scandinavian country scrambled fighter jets on 41 occasions to inspect Russian military aircraft flying past its airspace, although the planes always stayed in international territory, the Norwegian air force said in its annual report. A total of 71 Russian military planes were identified during the sorties, the highest since 2009, it said.
“It’s important to note that none of these planes were intercepted” in Norwegian air space, said the head of the Norwegian military, Harald Sunde.
The two countries share a 196-kilometer (122-mile) border in the far north, where Russia has large military bases in the Murmansk region. Putin, who returned to the Kremlin in May, has announced an “unprecedented” Russian rearmament, vowing to pump more than 550 billion euros ($705 billion) into the defense industry over the next 10 years.