On Monday, Dagbladet was able to say that Norwegian authorities observed balloons of unknown origin on Norwegian territory.
Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram confirmed this.
– A large number of weather balloons are launched from most nations every day. Most balloons of this type burst and fall after one to two hours. Nevertheless, from time to time balloons of unknown origin drift with the wind over Norwegian territory, Gram told Dagbladet.
In recent weeks, sightings of several suspicious balloons over the United States and Canada have raised concerns, and several have been shot down.
The largest of them, according to US authorities the size of three buses, is suspected to have been a Chinese spy balloon.
The US State Department has said that 40 countries are the target of China’s so-called spy balloon program.
Dagbladet asked the Minister of Defense if Norway was one of those countries.
Not familiar with spy balloon
– Norway has a good intelligence dialogue with the United States. We don’t want to get into individual elements in the conversations we have with them on intelligence matters, Gram says in a comment.
The defense minister previously said that Norway was not aware of balloons the size of China’s “spy balloon” in the United States having flown over Norwegian territory.
He says, however, that Norway is following closely and will take action if the Norwegian armed forces and security authorities deem it necessary.
– It happens from time to time that balloons whose origin we do not know drift with the wind on Norwegian territory. In some cases, it is relevant to use resources to verify what is observed on the radar images.
– It’s time to shoot
Dagbladet asked when was the last sighting of an unknown balloon over Norwegian territory, but the Minister of Defense will not answer.
– We don’t want to comment on individual incidents, Gram said.
In the United States and Canada, at least four balloons were shot down from the sky. Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram does not rule out doing the same here in Norway if necessary.
– I am not aware that Norway has found it necessary to shoot down balloons, but it could be relevant, among other things, if they could pose a danger to air traffic, Gram told Dagbladet.
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