Russia threatens retaliation over Norway Arctic island goods ban

by | Jun 29, 2022 | World

The foreign ministry says Norway’s restrictions disrupted the work of the Russian consulate-general on Spitsbergen Island and a Russian coal mining settlement.Russia has accused Norway of imposing restrictions that block goods destined for Russian-populated settlements on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, and has threatened unspecified “retaliatory measures” unless Oslo resolves the matter.
Svalbard, located midway between Norway’s north coast and the North Pole, is part of Norway, but Russia has the right to exploit the archipelago’s natural resources under a treaty signed in 1920, and some settlements on the archipelago are populated mainly by Russians.
Norway, which is not in the European Union but enforces EU sanctions against Russia, has said sanctions would not affect the transport of goods by ship to Svalbard. But much of the freight for the archipelago’s Russian settlements passes first through a checkpoint in mainland Norway, which is closed to sanctioned Russian goods.
“We demanded that the Norwegian side resolve the issue as soon as possible,” the Russian foreign ministry said on Wednesday after summoning Norway’s charge d’affaires in Moscow.
“We indicated that unfriendly actions against Russia will inevitably lead to appropriate retaliatory measures,” the ministry said.
A view across Yoldiabukta Bay towards Spitsbergen island, part of the Svalbard archipelago in northern Norway [File: Natalie Thomas/Reuters]
Norway’s restrictions have disrupted the work of the Russian consulate-general on Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago, and a Russian coal mining settlement there, the ministry said.
Vehicles carrying food and medical supplies to Spitsbergen have been stuck …

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