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Norway to ask US for additional Marine presence near Russia border

Norway to ask US for additional Marine presence near Russia border
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Norway will ask the United States to send 700 U.S. Marines to the country amid heightened concerns about Russia. 

The U.S. initially sent Marines to the country in 2017 to train for fighting in winter conditions. Those troops are scheduled to leave Norway at the end of the year.

But Oslo is expected to ask the U.S. to send 700 Marines in 2019, Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide told reporters, according to Reuters. The additional troops would be based near the border with Russia.

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Søreide said that the Marines' presence in Norway is not intended to establish a permanent U.S. military base nor is the move intended to target Russia.

"There are no American bases on Norwegian soil," she said.

Still, Oslo has become increasingly wary of Russia's intentions after Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, Reuters noted. The U.S. Marines are the first foreign troops to be stationed in the country since World War II. 

Norway said that the decision to invite more U.S. troops centered on NATO training efforts, according to Reuters. The move is almost certain to draw fierce criticism from Russia.