Concerns are growing over Russian ships that have docked in a once-secret naval base in the Arctic.
Military leaders in Norway are nervous about its powerful neighbour's presence on its 'strategically important' coastline following a spike in tensions between Russia and NATO nations.
Some experts have criticised the shutting down of Olavsvern Naval Base - a huge complex buried in mountainous terrain near the town of Tromsoe - which has been closed since 2009.
But fears have once again peaked after three Russian ships spent the entire winter docked deep within the mountain hideaway which was once a heavily guarded military facility.
Show of strength: Norway's military leaders are growing concerned after three Russian warships spent the winter docked inside a closed naval base (file photo) deep inside the country's mountainous terrain
Aggression: In February, RAF planes intercepted two Russian bombers (file photo) which had flown into Irish territory and forced a passenger jet to divert its course
Force: And late last year, the Russian navy anti-submarine ship Severomorsk (file photo) and three other Russian ships had to be escorted out of the British channel
It was originally shut because the country's leaders thought the threat from Moscow was reduced, despite its massive Northern Fleet which is base in the nearby Kola Peninsula.
Norway's former vice admiral said shutting down the base was 'pure madness' while other critics say their submarines now have to travel hundreds of extra miles to protect the region.
This is far from the first time Russia has flexed its military muscles in other countries' territory.
In February, a passenger plane had to be diverted to avoid two Russian bombers that flew through Irish-controlled airspace without warning.
The disruption on February 18 was thought to have occurred during the same incident in which British RAF Typhoon fighters were scrambled to escort the Russian vessels.
That move was perceived as a show of strength by Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine conflict after Prime Minister David Cameron accused him of challenging the 'territorial integrity' of Kiev.
It followed a separate incident when the Royal Navy had to intercept a Russian warship which strayed to close to the UK while passing through the English channel the same month.
The Neustrashimy-class warship – equipped with missiles, anti-aircraft guns and torpedoes – was monitored and escorted by a heavily-armed British frigate.
Cat and mouse: Heavily-armed HMS Argyll follows the Russian warship (back left) as it passes through the English Channel in February
Intercepted: Footage released on Russian TV showed the moment two RAF jets escorted the Russian bomber in February
Concerned: They are worried by this perceived show of strength from Moscow (Russian President Vladimir Putin pictured) and its presence on its 'strategically important' coastline
And late last year, the HMS Tyne had to escort another Russian destroyer and three other boats from the Channel as they passed through the Strait of Dover after carrying out military exercises in the North Sea.
HOW MOSCOW HAS MUSCLED IN
Since January 2014, there have been at least 17 shows of military strength by Russia near the UK. The most serious included:
Feb 18: RAF jets scrambled after two Russian Bear bombers spotted off the coast of Cornwall, forcing a flight from Dublin to divert.
Feb 15: Russian warship intercepted by Royal Navy in the English Channel.
Jan 28: RAF fighters challenge two Russian bombers capable of carrying nuclear missiles south of Bournemouth.
Jan 8: Defence chiefs ask for US help to hunt a suspected Russian submarine lurking off the coast of Scotland.
Nov 2014: Russian flotilla on military exercise in the Channel escorted from UK waters by HMS Tyne.
Nov 2014: Nato aircraft called in to hunt suspected Russian submarine off the west coast of Scotland.
Oct 2014: RAF Typhoon warplanes shadow two Bears as they fly down the west coast of Britain.
Elinar Skorgen added: 'We are the only country along with Russia to have a permanent presence in the Barents Sea, where we share a common border.
Obviously our navy should be stationed there, including our submarines. If the ships aren't there where they are needed, they might as well be scrapped altogether.'
The Armed forces put the base - which cost over £390million to construct - up for sale on Norway's version of eBay.
It was eventually bought for just £3.5million by a Norwegian businessmen and was rented out to Russian research vessels which were reportedly linked to the country's state-owned energy giant Gazprom.
Its landlord Gunnar Wilhelmsen said: 'There are no longer any secrets surrounding this base... Not since the military and NATO agreed to put it on sale over the Internet, along with photographs of every nook and cranny.'
Many military experts are now worried by the the potential for Russian military activity aboard the research vessels.
A former second in command for the Norwegian military said: 'Russia is a country where the state has a say over all commercial or semi-state business. It's clear, very few people know what happens on these vessels.'
Jan Reksten believes the sale of Olavsvern was 'a double loss' as 'Norway's armed forces lost an important base and now there are Russian vessels docked there'.
Living and working in Chernobyl: Fascinating insight into the lives of those who work and live in the exclusion zone around the nuclear plant nearly 30 years after disaster that shook the world
On the 26 April, 1986, the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl went into meltdown, eventually exploding and covering 56,700 square miles of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, a region home to six million people, in a cloud of nuclear dust.
The cities and villages surrounding the nuclear plant were first evacuated, and then abandoned as the government set up a huge exclusion zone around the plant, covering a total of 819 square miles.
To most Ukrainians the exclusion zone is a frightening place, a dark spot on the map where few dare to venture. For those who grew up around Chernobyl, however, the thought of leaving home was just too painful. Now, 30 years on from the disaster, life continues here, though in a sorry and often desperate state.
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Struggle: Almost 30 years on from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, life continues at the power plant despite a 25-mile exclusion zone. Every day almost 7,000 workers come here to help decommission the plant (pictured, workers take radiation tests before returning home)
Suffering: Some workers live inside the irradiated zone for up to 14 days at a time, while others commute in from towns just outside the quarantined area. Vachislav Danilov, a medical researcher, commutes from Slavutich, 40 miles from the power plant
Dangerous: Despite the exclusion zone, surrounding area is still exposed to between 20 and 30 times the usual level of background radiation, and nobody knows quite what effect this has on people's health (pictured, commuters in Kiev, 83 miles away from Chernobyl)
Legacy of disater: Pictured are Tania Bokova and husband Sergii Bokov. Tania is an administrator taking charge of decommissioning Chernobyl, and is the third generation of her family to work here. Sergii works in a liquid nuclear waste disposal plant (pictured)
Morbid curiosity: While hundreds of thousands were forced to flee after the plant went into meltdown, the tragedy has attracted some people to the area. Tourists take pictures of the bleak landscape on the edge of the exclusion zone
While the power plant has lain dormant for decades, thousands of people still work there, helping to decommission the ruin, and manage the exclusion zone. Around 3,000 live inside the exclusion zone for up to 14 days at a time carrying out their dangerous work, while another 3,800 live on the borders of the exclusion zone and commute in.
They inhabit towns such as Slavutich, Ukraine, located just over 40 miles away from Chernobyl, which was built to house 25,000 former exclusion zone residents. Each day three ‘elektrichka’ trains ferry workers to the site, via Belarus, and then back again, having passed through radiation detectors.
Other workers live in Ivankiv, the closest inhabited city to the exclusion zone, Sukachi village, located just over 25 miles from the old nuclear plant, and Novo Ladizhichi, meaning ‘New Ladizhichi’, named after the abandoned town it was built to replace.
Desperate: While the exclusion zone is largely empty, around 400 mostly elderly people are thought to have resettled there. Viktor Gaidak worked at Chernobyl for 28 years before the meltdown, and was forced to sell all his belongings to pay for treatment for colon cancer. Now his wife also has cancer, but no way to pay for treatment
Tragic: Vasily Olessandrovich (left) displays a tattoo of his wife he got after she died of cancer, aged 48. He says he spends most of his days drunk, and wishes he was also dead. Igor Pashinsky (right) eats berries grown inside the exclusion zone, where rates of cancer are high
Unknown: A couple are seen on the streets of Ivankiv, a heavily irradiated town on the edge of the exclusion zone. Nobody quite knows what effect exposure to radiation for this long has, so the residents get by on rumour, experience and superstition
Getting by: A convience store is built into an old trailer in Sukachi village, which is now home to thousands displaced during the nuclear disaster, where employees are seen restocking the shelves
Despite living outside the exclusion zone, these workers are still exposed to radiation levels 30 to 40 times higher than the typical background radiation. No studies have ever been conducted into the effects of long term radiation exposure, so nobody knows quite what this is doing to them. Higher instances of cancer and other diseases have been reported, but the villagers themselves get by on hearsay, rumour, and speculation.
While the exclusion zone itself is largely deserted, there are thought to be around 400 mostly elderly farmers who resettled in their old homes following the disaster, reluctant to leave after so many years spent in familiar surroundings. They scrape out desperate lives, subsisting off of the meagre pensions the government provides for being Chernobyl survivors.
Cancer rates are high, and alcoholism is rife. Viktor Gaidak, who worked at the Chernobyl plant for 28 years, was forced to sell virtually everything he owned in order to pay for treatment for colon cancer. Now his wife Lydia has also developed a tumour, but the couple have nothing left to sell to pay for her treatment.
Meltdown: On the 26 April, 1986, the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl was destroyed after the Fourth Block reactor exploded during a safety test. Pictured here is a set of dials inside the old plant
Another day in the office: Vachislav Danilov, a medical researcher working at Chernobyl, is seen in the changing rooms at the plant. He lives in nearby Slavutich with his son Ilya, one of his eight children
Cleaning up: Some workers at Chernobyl live inside the exclusion zone for up to 14 days at a time. Here, a janitor mops the entrance hall to the old plant, next to the radiation detectors that workers pass through each evening on their way home
Vasily Olessandrovich got a tattoo of his wife, Natasha, after she died of cancer on her 46th birthday. He is a farmer, but by his own admission spends most of his days drunk now, trying to forget the pain he feels. ‘I was born here and I'll die here. I already want to die,’ he says.
'Forgive me, I'm drunk. I drink a lot now. We only have what God gives us, our health, our place, our friends.'
Grown accustomed to the fear of radiation, Chernobylites today have new fears. They worry about their future. Keeping their jobs. Opportunities for their children. Maintaining their hometowns
Forgotten: For most Ukrainians the area around Chernobyl is a black spot on the map. But for those who lived in Chernobyl and nearby Pripyat before the disaster, it is still a place of work and a place to call home (pictured, a rusting bus inside the exclusion zone)
Daily commute: Despite being exposed to dangerously high levels of radiation on a daily basis, life continues in the areas around Chernobyl. Here commuters in the town of Slavutich make their way home
On the edge: People refill their cars at an Energiya Plus petrol station on the outskirts of Ivankiv, the closet inhabited city to the exclusion zone
Different way of life: Not all of those who stayed work at the power plant. Here workers at a clothes factory in Slavutich, 40 miles from Chernobyl, are pictured taking a break
But while most people fled the zone following the disaster, it has drawn in a morbidly-curious crowd of tourists, who come equipped with face masks and long-lens cameras to take pictures of the desolate and abandoned landscape.
As with so many things at Chernobyl, nobody quite knows how long it will be until the area is safe, however because of a particularly long-lived radioactive element that was used here, some scientists estimate that it could be 20,000 years before the area becomes habitable again.
Until then life continues in this remote and lonely spot, struggling along as best it can amid the ruins of the worst nuclear disaster in history.
A new life: While some people decided to stay around Chernobyl, others were forced to leave. Here orphans driven from Ukraine by the disaster are given donated clothes at a sanctuary in Poland
Escape: More refugees who fled Chernobyl after the power plant exploded settled in Borodyanka, 60 miles away. Here Lesya Kostenko (left, in red), leads a dance rehearsal with 14-year-old students Ira Dovstenka (centre, in white), and Olya Shvitka (right, in black)
Opportunities: Children wait back stage at a theatre in Slavutych, just outside the exclusion zone, for a recital of a performance they first put on in Kiev. With the fear of radiation subsiding, those living around Chernobyl are becoming concerned for their future, and that of the young
Keeping spirits up: The citizens of Sukachi celebrate during their annual 'Day of Sukachi' in the village hall (left), while Momotyuk Nazarii leads a service in the church in Novo Ladizhichi (right). The walls are decorated with posters, because they cannot afford paintings