‘Norway condemns Russia’s military attack on Ukraine in the strongest possible terms. This attack is a serious violation of international law and will have dramatic consequences for the people of Ukraine,’ said Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
‘Norway stands together with its Allies and the UN in demanding that Russia immediately ceases its military operations and seeks a peaceful solution. The Russian authorities bear full responsibility for the current situation, which represents a watershed for Europe and a new era in European security.’
The Prime Minister emphasised that the Norwegian authorities are monitoring the situation very closely. No heightened military activity has been observed in Norway’s neighbouring areas.
‘The pictures we are seeing from Ukraine are frightening, and are giving rise to fear and concern among people here in Norway as well. I wish to be very clear that we have seen no indication that the conflict will spread to Norway’s neighbouring areas,’ said Mr Støre.
‘Norway also condemns the involvement of Belarus in Russia’s attack on Ukraine from Belarusian territory,’ the Prime Minister said.
Humanitarian assistance to Ukraine
‘I would like to express our strong solidarity with the Ukrainian people. We fully support their desire for freedom and the country’s right to determine its own geopolitical alignment. These are fundamental principles in a free and peaceful Europe,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.
Ms Huitfeldt has met with the Ukrainian Ambassador today to discuss the situation.
‘We are providing NOK 250 million in humanitarian support to the Ukrainian population. This has been planned in close consultation with the UN system. We are also in contact with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Norwegian humanitarian organisations to ensure that assistance reaches people in need quickly,’ Ms Huitfeldt said.
In the time ahead, Norway will continuously assess the need to further increase humanitarian funding for Ukraine and, if it becomes necessary, for refugees in neighbouring countries. The Norwegian authorities are aware that the situation may lead to a flow of refugees from Ukraine. Norway and other European countries must do what they can to provide help.
Norway is involved in the ongoing assessments and decision-making in NATO on how best to deal with the situation.
‘We will work closely with our Allies on a united response. We fully understand that some of our Allies may find the current situation threatening. Norway will step up to the plate in NATO,’ said Minister of Defence Odd Roger Enoksen.
‘We have been following the situation closely for a long time and have implemented measures in the Armed Forces, including raising our level of alertness. The authorities stand ready to further strengthen preparedness in the event this becomes necessary. We are monitoring the situation in our neighbouring areas and are exchanging information with Allies and partners to obtain the best possible situational awareness. The Norwegian authorities are working together with the other countries in NATO, and Norway will stand together with the Alliance in implementing a united response in the time ahead. We are also maintaining close contact with the other Nordic countries,’ Mr Enoksen said.
Norway contributes military forces to NATO operations, and has already increased its contribution to the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence in Lithuania.
Strong and clear reaction
‘Countries do not choose their place on the map, and Norway’s proximity to Russia makes contact and dialogue necessary in the current situation as well. This is the only way to deal with issues that affect both countries. The Russian Government is making this difficult. We have no choice but to react to such a serious violation of international law. Russia’s actions are threatening the stability and security of Europe. At the same time, it is important for me to emphasise that our reaction is not directed towards the Russian people,’ said Mr Støre.
Norwegian citizens in Ukraine
‘We are very concerned about the situation for Norwegian citizens who are in Ukraine. They now find themselves in an unpredictable and potentially volatile situation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been in contact with all Norwegian citizens and residents still in Ukraine who have registered their whereabouts,’ said Foreign Minister Huitfeldt.
On 11 February, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued travel advice advising against all travel to Ukraine. The Ministry also urged all Norwegian citizens or residents who were in Ukraine to leave the country while it was possible to do so via normal travel routes. The Ministry made it clear that it would be difficult to provide assistance if the situation deteriorated, as is now the case. Dozens of Norwegian citizens and residents remain in Ukraine.
The Norwegian Embassy in Ukraine has been temporarily closed. This will greatly limit the ability to help Norwegians still in the country. Norwegian citizens/residents in need of assistance should contact the Foreign Service Response Centre.