Norwegian army recruits to wear used underwear due to equipment shortages

Norwegian conscripts will now have to return their boxers, bras and socks after completing military service for the next recruits, as the army struggles with dwindling supplies due to Covid.

Pictured are army cadets crawling through the mud.
Boots and socks, pictured above being worn by US Army cadets, are also said to be in short supply in the Norwegian military Photo by .Jon Cherry / Getty Images via AFP

Guarding NATO’s northern borders and sharing a border with Russia, Norway calls up around 8,000 young men and women for military service every year.

Until recently, newly discharged conscripts left their barracks with the underwear they were issued.

But the Covid-19 pandemic has seriously strained the flow of supplies with factory shutdowns and transport problems, leading the Norwegian military to ask conscripts to hand over underwear, bras and even socks.

Though originally voluntary, it has now been made mandatory, public broadcaster NRK reported on Friday.

“Now that we have chosen to reuse this part of the kit, it helps us… We don’t have enough in stock,” defence logistics spokesman Hans Meisingset told NRK.

“The textiles are washed, cleaned and checked. What we distribute is in good condition,” he said.

A conscripts’ representative, however, criticised recurrent shortcomings, saying they could end up affecting operations.

“Severe shortages of equipment and clothing can potentially affect operational readiness and, in the worst case, the safety of the soldier,” Eirik Sjohelle Eiksund told trade publication Forsvarets Forum.

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Caught red-handed: Norwegian woman fined after left hand crosses Russian border

A woman in North Norway was handed a hefty fine when her left arm crossed the Russian border. 

Caught red-handed: Norwegian woman fined after left hand crosses Russian border
A border police officer at the Norwegian border. Photo by Petter BERNTSEN / AFP

Police in Finnmark, Northern Norway, have dished out a fine to a woman after she accidentally crossed the border on a trip to Treirksrøyen, the spot that marks the boundaries between Norway, Finland and Russia. 

The hiker climbed the spot that marks the borders and hugged what locals call the heart stone, which sits atop the cairn. 

Hugging the stone meant that her left hand crossed the border, which is illegal under The National Borders Act. 

The incident was picked up by CCTV at the site and reported to police by armed forces at the border. Local police then slapped the woman with a fine. 

“There are quite strict rules when it comes to crossing the border,” Lisa Moon Sneve, attorney for Finnmark Police District, told newspaper VG.

According to Sneve, this is a common offence. 

“I do not have the exact number, but there are so many cases like this where it is common for us,” Sneve said. 

READ ALSO: Two campers find 2 million kroner stashed in cave in Norway

The woman has yet to respond to the fine, meaning that she could end up in district court in September if she refuses to accept the fine. 

If so, she risks having the fine increased to 9,600 kroner, or 19 days in prison if she is unable to pay or continues to refuse to pay the fine. 

Sneve says that the fine may seem excessive but that it’s necessary to prevent people from crossing the border illegally. 

“There are very many tourists who aren’t clear on how strict this actually is, but not being aware of the law is no excuse. The fines are high to prevent people from crossing the border,” she explained.