Heads shake over Crimea ‘nonsense’

The former leader of Norway’s conservative Progress Party, Carl I Hagen, has never made a secret of how much he missed politics after retiring. The now 74-year-old politician still thrives in the spotlight, grabbing it once again this week in an appearance on Russian TV that brought him more attention and criticism back home. Hagen’s […]

Russia’s hijacking ‘unacceptable’

Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide joined European colleagues on Monday in condemning what many were calling Russia’s “hijacking” of Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea region on Sunday. As a member of NATO, Norway was also taking part in a crisis meeting in Brussels Monday afternoon. “Russian use of force against Ukrainian vessels […]

UD probes possible sanctions violation

Norway’s foreign ministry (Utenriksdepartementet, UD) has confirmed that it’s investigating complaints from Ukraine that ships have sailed from Norway with cargoes of metallic ore that have been transferred to Russian vessels in a narrow strait between Crimea and Russia. Sending the material into Crimea or Russia could violate the international sanctions imposed after Russia invaded […]

‘Sensible’ Brende back in Russia

Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende tried to dismiss his Russian counterpart’s greeting on Wednesday as a joke, but the words from Sergey Lavrov lingered: Brende’s first visit to Russia since Norway’s neighbour controversially annexed Crimea three years ago was, according to Lavrov, “at least a sign” that Brende and his colleagues had understood that they needed “to come […]

Journalist denied entry to Russia

UPDATED: Thomas Nilsen, editor of the highly acclaimed Independent Barents Observer in Kirkenes, seems to have become the latest symbol of tensions between Norway and Russia. Calls are now going out for the Norwegian foreign ministry to demand an explanation from the Russian Embassy in Oslo, as to why Nilsen was stopped at the Russian border on Wednesday while traveling […]

The Russian Embassy in Oslo calls its relations with Norway ‘unsatisfactory’

UPDATED: Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende claimed on Thursday that he’d had “a useful conversation” with his Russian counterpart, Sergej Lavrov, at the G20 summit in Bonn. On Friday, the Russian Embassy in Oslo sent out a very different message, claiming in a “comment” published on social media that Russia’s “bilateral relation” with Norway is “unsatisfactory” and “not […]

Political leaders bound for Moscow

For the first time since Russia controversially annexed Crimea, a high-ranking delegation from the Norwegian Parliament will be traveling to Moscow next week for talks with their Russian counterparts. Themes will range from Arctic issues to the situation in Syria and human rights. “We think it’s important to have contact with the national assembly in a neighbouring […]

Russia objects to US troops in Norway

Russia’s foreign ministry made it clear Thursday night that it’s not at all in favour of Norway allowing US troops to be stationed at Værnes outside Trondheim. “Norway is choosing American soldiers over economic cooperation with Russia,” a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign minister told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “We don’t understand why something like this is […]

Ukraine returns Solberg’s visit

UPDATED: There was no firing of the canons at the Akershus Fortress because Ukraine’s president, Petro Porosjenko, was making an “official” visit to Norway on Tuesday and not the more formal “state” visit. Commentators noted that the visit was nonetheless packed with symbolism, as Norway demonstrates support for a land under enormous pressure from an unpredictable fellow neighbour, […]

Norway upholds sanctions against Russia

Norway and Russia have long been fairly good neighbours, but political opposition over Russia’s ongoing intervention in Ukraine means economic sanctions won’t be lifted any time soon. Foreign Minister Børge Brende confirmed this week that conditions aren’t right yet to lift Norway’s own sanctions against Russia. The news was not unexpected and came right after the […]