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US Considers Military Buildup in Iceland After 10 Year Absence

© AP Photo / Kirsty WigglesworthHelicopters make a training flight at the Keflavik US Air Base, Keflavik, Iceland, Friday Feb. 24, 2006. File photo
Helicopters make a training flight at the Keflavik US Air Base, Keflavik, Iceland, Friday Feb. 24, 2006. File photo - Sputnik International
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Iceland's Foreign Ministry confirmed that the US did express interest in the possibility of its military assets returning to Iceland.

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The US government may be considering a military buildup in Iceland, according to media reports.

The US Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work visited Iceland earlier this week and inspected the section of the Keflavik International Airport that used to serve as the hub of the US military presence on the island.

Allegedly the recent instances of Russian military aircraft approaching Iceland's airspace have caused great concerns both in Iceland and in the US.

"The Russians have long done transit flights where they pass close by Iceland," Work told DefenseNews, "but they've recently made several circumnavigation flights" — flying completely around the island nation. As a result, "Iceland is interested in increasing military cooperation."

Local public-service broadcaster RUV contacted the Iceland's Foreign Ministry regarding the issue. The ministry officials confirmed that the US did express interest in the possibility of its military assets returning to Iceland, but that so far no formal talks between the two nations were held on the matter.

The Naval Air Station Keflavik used to be the key element of the US military presence in Iceland. It was shut down in 2006 when the last of the US military assets were withdrawn from the island, and is currently being used by the Icelandic Coast Guard.

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