News

Norwegian and Russian Row Over Rocket Launch

by Aleksandr Korzun, Igor Porshnev, Yevgeniy Terekhov, and others.
Moscow INTERFAX, 30 January 1995
(from the "Diplomatic Panorama" feature)
[FBIS Transcribed Text] Moscow, Jan 30 (INTERFAX) --
Russia's Foreign Ministry in contact with the federal defence
and other departments has been studying all details of the
incident with a Norwegian missile that fell on the Spitzbergen
archipelago on January 25.
"This is misunderstanding, which must not be repeated," 
Yuriy
Fokin, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Second
European Department declared in an interview with Interfax
Monday.
He dismissed as "not corresponding to reality" information
from a number of media that the Norwegian side had warned
Russia's Foreign Ministry about the forthcoming missile launch,
however, the foreign department had failed to tell the Russian
military about that. "We did so twice in advance," he said.
He recalled that "in late December, Norwegians sent to all
embassies in Oslo a note where they specified the precise
coordinates of the possible sites of their missile's splash
down." "The Norwegian side reported that it planned to launch
three missiles in the period from January 15 to 10. In other
words, the Norwegian side gave the period during which
launchings will be accomplished rather than precise launch
dates," Fokin said.
He specifically noted that "this is a quite normal
phenomenon". "In the past, whenever we launched missiles in the
Pacific region, we only indicated the period during which a
missile will be launched rather than the precise date of
launching," Fokin said.
He reported that "the Norwegian note, dated December 27th,
reached Russia's Foreign Ministry without delay." On the
following day, December 28, according to him, he addressed a
message to Valentin Selivanov, chief of the Russian Naval
Headquarters.
"As accustomed, the Russian Foreign Ministry sent to the
military seamen such information, and they, in line with their
procedure dispatched it to other departments concerned, the
Defence Ministry included. No problems had arisen, he said.
Norway launched missiles before, so, there was nothing new in
this."
"On December 30th, the Russian Embassy in Oslo "duplicated"
the information contained in the Norwegian note, sending a
telegram to the Russian Foreign Ministry." "The Russian Foreign
Ministry sent it in copies to the Defence Ministry, the Federal
Service of Border Troops, and to Russia's Academy of Sciences",
Fokin said.
He also reported that Norwegians had used not only foreign
ministry channels. "On January 16, they sent through civil
aviation services a notification about the upcoming missile
launch to 35 countries, Russia included."
Fokin specifically noted that because of the incident "there
can be no claims to the Norwegian side, which has complied with
all procedures, usual for such cases."