Norway working to bring spy home

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Norway’s foreign ministry is reportedly spending millions trying to get convicted spy Frode Berg freed from prison in Moscow. The goal, reports state broadcaster NRK, is to get Berg home to Kirkenes in Northern Norway before ceremonies are held later this fall to mark the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s liberation of Finnmark in 1944.

King Harald V, Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are all due to take part in the ceremonies in Kirkenes on October 25. Berg’s Norwegian lawyer, Brynjulf Risnes, thinks the liberation anniversary is putting pressure on both Norway and Russia to settle their conflict over Berg.

“It’s clear that during the anniversary, they (Norwegian and Russian leaders) would rather talk about other things than Frode Berg,” Risnes told NRK. “I would think there’s interest on both sides to get this conflict settled.” Berg was arrested in Moscow in December 2017 and charged with being a courier on behalf of Norway’s military intelligence service. He has been imprisoned ever since and now faces a lengthy term after being convicted of espionage.

NRK reported that foreign ministry officials are using as many resources to get Berg home as they did in getting another Norwegian who got in trouble abroad, Joshua French, released from jail in the Democratic Republic of Congo. That case cost the state at least NOK 11 million.

The Berg case is complicated by the current political tension between Norway and Russia and sanctions against Russia following its disupted annexation of Crimea in 2014.

newsinenglish.no staff