Russian government adds Norway to blacklist of ‘unfriendly’ countries

The government of Russia has on Thursday added Norway to its foreign country blacklist, a list that contains foreign states that have committed so-called ‘unfriendly’ acts against Russian diplomatic missions.

The Russian government decree says that countries on the list are limited in the number of local staff they can hire at their diplomatic missions in Russia. Norway has been restricted to 27 staff, according to reports by state news agency RIA Novosti.

“The government has included the Kingdom of Norway in the list of foreign states that commit unfriendly acts against Russian diplomatic and consular missions abroad,” Russia’s cabinet of ministers said in a statement.

Moscow’s move against Oslo comes after 15 Russian embassy employees were expelled by the Norwegian government on charges of espionage and working undercover as intelligence officers. Two weeks later, Russia retaliated by expelling 10 Norwegian diplomats.

President Vladimir Putin first set up the ‘unfriendly list’ of countries in 2021, on the basis of blacklisting foreign states found to have carried out ‘hostile’ actions against Russian missions abroad.

The list initially contained the United States and the Czech Republic but was quickly expanded to include Greece, Denmark, Slovakia, Croatia, and Slovenia. The latter two countries were banned from hiring local employees at their Russian diplomatic missions altogether.

All eight countries on Russia’s ‘unfriendly’ list have expressed support for Ukraine following Russia’s invasion in 2022.

The Russian government also maintains a separate blacklist of ‘unfriendly’ countries that have placed sanctions on Moscow for its offensive against Ukraine. This list imposes economic limits on the majority western countries that are on the list.

Although not an EU member state, Norway has adopted sanctions against Russia in line with those introduced by the European Union.

The Norwegian government has however said that there was no reason to claim that it had behaved in an unfriendly manner towards Russia, with whom it shares a border in the Arctic.

“Today’s situation is the result of Russia’s war on Ukraine. Russia can itself choose to end the war,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said in a statement to Reuters.

“As neighboring countries, we both have an interest in functioning diplomatic relations and channels of contact, not least in difficult times,” Huitfeldt said.

A Norwegian foreign ministry spokesperson separately said that Norway had not yet received an official notification from Moscow, and declined to comment on any specific consequences of Russia’s decision.

Umar Ali
As editor in chief, I am always on the road, searching for hidden gems, undiscovered waterfalls, enticing hikes to explore, underrated delis, and more. Crafting compelling content that captures the true essence of each place is my passion. With years of experience in travel journalism, I strive to provide unbiased and factual content based on my real-life experiences. When I'm not out exploring, you can find me delving into local markets and devouring new foods, immersing myself in the cultures and communities that make each destination unique. It might sound like a tough job, but I love it!

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