Dutch Marine Corps director of operations Gen Jeff Mac Mootry has accused the Russian military of trying to provoke NATO marines operating in the Arctic Circle.
"What we see is there is an increasing interest of Russian naval vessels when we exercise," he said, speaking to the Telegraph at a briefing in Rotterdam.
"For example, when we do launching exercises as part of our ballistic missile defense program, we see more Russian ships than normally and they come closer to us than in past decades. They clearly want to make their presence visible," Mac Mootry explained.
The Dutch general also complained about Russian fighter planes flying "closer over our warships just to make their presence known, you could almost call it, in a provocative way."
Approximately 400 British marines have been training with their Dutch counterparts in Norway as part of a joint deployment in the region.
The UK has plans to set up a permanent presence in northern Norway and to send 800 marines and commandos to the country for cold weather training in 2019, with UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson recently calling the move a response to Cold War era-like Russian submarine activity. "If we turn back the clock 10 years many people thought that the era of submarine activity in the High North, in the North Atlantic, and the threat that it posed did disappear with the fall of the Berlin Wall. This threat has really come back to the fore," Williamson said, speaking at the Conservative Party conference earlier this month.
Moscow has expressed concerns about a buildup in NATO strength in the Baltic countries, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria in recent years. Since 1990, NATO has incorporated every one of the former members of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact alliance, and expanded into the Baltic states and several former Yugoslav republics as well, despite making promises not to do so in 1990.