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- We cannot just call Russia an enemy

Women have taken a bigger place in the Armed Forces in recent years. What does a young female soldier think about Norway's role in the much-talked about NATO exercise?

Trude Gjelsten is a student of political science and a colleague of Schøning and Ekanger in the HV task force from Nordland. During the exercise at Telneset, Ny Tid asks her if she has thought about a "worst case" scenario:

"Yes, you have to reflect on what you practice, that you have to defend and wars to get your country back. Very drastic things can happen in a war situation: You can risk having to kill or being in situations of great misery. Nobody wants it, "replies Heron's deputy.

What does she think of Russia criticizing the NATO exercise?

"Now it is not near Russia down here [in central Norway], and the Russians are also practicing, so that they see it as threatening, I do not understand," replies Gjelsten. But Russia cannot be referred to simply as an enemy, she says:

“Norway has many bilateral agreements with Russia. We cooperate with Russia in many areas, we also did it militarily before Ukraine [2014]. Of course, we cooperate extensively with the United States, we are NATO allies, and the United States represents a large portion of the NATO budget. ”She is clear that it is important that you both give and take part in a collaboration. To the criticism that has come from, among other things, the peace movement that an exercise like this – and the military in general – costs too much, she replies:

"Peace and cooperation are important to building, but we cannot ignore the fact that we must be capable of protecting our country."

Gjelsten is ambitious and will develop further within the Home Guard. Many times she has also thought about the possibility of participating in international forces, she tells Ny Tid.

"It had been an experience – good and bad. I probably wouldn't say no if I had the opportunity, ”says the 24-year-old with a smile.

 

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Kaisa Ytterhaug
Ytterhaug is a freelancer in Ny Tid.

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