Norwegian Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen arrived at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg devoted to the ongoing Trident Juncture-18 drills wearing a casual knitted sweater with little fishing boats, waves and netted fish on it on Tuesday.
Stressing the "great importance" of being a "responsible and credible ally," as well as Norway's investment in Transatlantic security, Bakke-Jensen called the Trident Juncture drills "a great opportunity for Norway to train and exercise our ability," and "to receive and handle a large number of troops and equipment from abroad."
Asked about a so-called Russian military buildup in the Arctic Ocean area, the defense minister stressed that Norway was "putting more effort in situational awareness" and promised that Norway "will be present with Norwegian planes, ships, and Norwegian troops, because this is our home guard too. So, we're exercising, we're moving our land forces up north, back to Finnmark. This is to create the understanding of the situation, we need to avoid misunderstandings."
Russian social media users paid close attention to Bakke-Jensen's remarks, naturally, but also couldn't help but comment on his stylish sweater on social media.
"It would have been better if it were reindeer, of course," one user joked. "It looks like he just came back from fishing, stopping by for a minute," another wrote. "The clothing matches the exercises," another argued. "This is treason! Where are the Norwegian deer?!" another demanded.
A few users found a more serious meaning in the sweater. "The guy's dressed like he would at home, informally. This means he's not afraid and knows that he and his country is not threatened by Russia," one commentator suggested.