Residents in eastern Finland on Wednesday made a number of calls to emergency services over what they thought were emergency flares. The night sky over the Finnish-Russian borderlands was flared with bright colors similar to emergency lights, Yle reports.
It soon turned out that the light formations all came from the major ongoing air drills conducted this week by the Russian Air Force. As previously reported by BarentsObserver, strategic bombers and fighter aircrafts on the 19th March started up a major exercise in the clouds over Karelia, the region bordering Finland. More than 40 crews of Su-34, Su-27, Su-24M and MiG-31, several of them from Murmansk, were involved in the exercise which was aimed at fighting enemy aircrafts, ground facilities, as well as “interception of air targets of distant borders”.
The emergency calls came from the eastern Finnish towns of Imatra, Joensuu, Kuopio, Ilomantsi, Rantasalmi and Puumala. According to the southern Savo rescue services unit, the lights came from shots fired by the Russian aircrafts, Yle informs.
As the major exercises stirred concern along Finland’s eastern border, the country’s President Sauli Niinistö underline that “there are no national security concerns for Finland arising from the situation” in Ukraine and that that Finland will continue to nurse close political relations with Russia. While the EU has taken a strong stance against Russian expansionist actions in Ukraine, the Finnish political establishment has been reluctant to freeze relations with Moscow. “The line of communication with Moscow must be kept as open as possible”, Niinistö underlines in a press release.
“We are Russia’s neighbor [and] unlike other neighbours, we do not have Nato membership. Our neighbourly relationship is built on bilateral relations,” the Finnish President says to the Finnish broadcaster.
Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Northern Fleet’s “Admiral Kuznetsov”, has finished repairs and is ready to leave the port of Murmansk. According to a Russian news agency, the vessel will sail to Syria.
A century and a half ago, Norway was home to roughly three thousand brown bears, the majority of bears in all of Scandinavia. By 1930, the bears were virtually extinct. Decades of aggressive management tactics and bounties had wiped out one of the area’s most iconic species.
Microplastics, the tiny plastic particles that are accumulating in marine waters and big lakes around the world, are now showing up in the Arctic waters south and southwest of Svalbard, Norway, a new study says.
REYKJAVIK: The climatic changes taking place in the Arctic are a call to action for the world. We must answer with more international cooperation and more research, says Tore Hattrem, State Secretary of Norway’s Foreign Ministry.
“Partnership should and shall shape the development of the Arctic, therefore cooperation is the starting point for our Arctic policy,” Vladimir Barbin, Senior Arctic Official and representative to the Arctic Council, said at the Arctic Circle 2015 assembly.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.
Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Brende has asked Russia for an explanation to the high number of asylum seekers coming to Norway via Russia. Syrian refugees that have lived in Russia for a long time, will be stopped on the border and sent back.