For the first time since World War II, three hundred U.S. Marines landed in Norway on Monday.  Although these troops arrived just days after more than 3500 American service personnel landed in Poland in support of NATO Operation Atlantic Resolve (bolstering European defenses against a potential Russian attack) both American and Norwegian officials dismissed suggestions that the Marines’ six-month deployment to Norway had anything to do with tensions between NATO and Russia.

The Marines, who deployed from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, landed in Norway’s third largest city, Trondheim, en route to the Vaernes military base where they will remain for six months of cold weather training and learning how to adjust to an arctic environment.  After their six months are complete, another three hundred Marines will rotate in.  Currently, there are no plans to extend the American military presence in the region for longer than a year.

“The US initiative to augment their training and exercises in Norway by locating a Marine Corps Rotational Force in Norway is highly welcome and will have positive implications for our already strong bilateral relationship,” Norwegian Defense Minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide, said in a statement.

Despite the Vaernes military base being over nine hundred miles from the Russian border, the Kremlin wasted no time in denouncing the joint military training operation, which will also involve British troops in the near future.