Russian authorities expelled a Norwegian diplomat on Friday who’d been working at the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow. Russia’s foreign ministry also called in Norway’s ambassador along with those from Sweden, Finland and Denmark, to complain about their own envoys’ expulsions earlier in the week.
The Russians’ move was an expected response to Norway’s decision, along with those of many other countries, to expel Russian diplomats in a show of solidarity with Great Britain, where Russian agents allegedly unleashed a nerve gas attack against a former spy.
Norway’s ambassador to Russia, Leidulv A. Namtvedt, was reportedly scolded by Russian authorities who claim they had nothing to do with the nerve gas attack in Salisbury, England. It has left one of its former intelligence agents and his daughter in critical condition at a British hospital, although the daughter was reportedly recovering,
A Norwegian foreign ministry spokesperson claimed that Norway “still wants a constructive relation to Russia in areas of common interest, and values the good contact we have had on many important issues.”
Norway, however, took part in a coordinated effort by many European countries and their allies to show solidarity with Great Britain, which claims Russia has carried out the first nerve gas attack on European soil since World War II.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov declared on Thursday that all countries that have expelled Russian diplomats will see the same number expelled from Russia. The order means that a total of 150 foreign diplomats must leave embassies in Moscow. The US, which has been hit with 60 expulsions, has also felt forced to close its consulate in St Petersburg.
The identity of the expelled Norwegian diplomat was not revealed. The Norwegian foreign ministry spokesperson would say only that the diplomat “had done a good job … and the expulsion has nothing to do with how the diplomat’s duties were carried out.”