The Norwegian military is training in an area close to the troubled South Ossetia area, which is only recognized by Russia, Nicaragua and Venezuela, and two small Pacific states. The EU, NATO and most UN member states regard the area as Georgian territory occupied by Russian and Ossetian forces.
Georgia has thus become a major political sore spot in relations between Russia and NATO, and Norway’s cooperation with Georgia is not well received in Moscow.
– A military cooperation with Georgia means a strengthening of Georgia’s military capacity in a conflict region. In light of the Georgian attack on South Ossetia in 2008 and continued aggressive rhetoric of President Saakashvili to this country and Abkhazia, it is tantamount to increase the risk of new acts of war, writes the Russian counsellor, Vladimir Isupov in an e-mail to Aftenposten.no.
While the Norwegian government has a close military cooperation with Russia, Norway has political interests in Caucasus through NATO membership. In 2008, NATO declared that Georgia will join NATO, a view Norway supports.