War against Ukraine affects relations with Russia

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Norway is reducing its contact with the Russian authorities to a minimum as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This is in line with the actions of other European countries and allies. Cooperation that is essential to ensure Norway’s safety and security will be maintained.

‘This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but we have no choice but to respond. Russia must understand that it is the one holding the key to repairing our ties. The action we have taken is directed towards the political regime in Russia, not the Russian people,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.

People-to-people cross-border cooperation in the north has long been constrained due to the increasingly authoritarian regime in Russia. The situation for civil society is now extremely difficult, and the uncertainty arising from Russia’s military attacks makes effective cross-border cooperation even more challenging. Unfortunately, the impacts of this will be felt at the local level, particularly by people living in the north. Norway will continue to support people-to-people cooperation and contact. The Norwegian Barents Secretariat in Kirkenes and a number of Norwegian organisations have a key role to play in this context.

‘Meetings of both the Arctic Council and the Barents Euro-Arctic Council have been postponed until further notice. We will discuss with our partners how this cooperation can and should be carried out in the time ahead,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.

The Nordic Council of Ministers is suspending all cooperation with Russia and Belarus. The Ministers for Nordic Co-operation stand together behind this decision.

‘It is not possible to continue cooperation as before,’ said Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, who is also Norway’s Minister for Nordic Co-operation. Read more here (Norwegian only).

Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the EU have decided to suspend Russia from the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS). Belarus has been suspended from its role as an observer in the Council.

‘It is deeply regrettable that Russia has created a situation where we, the other 11 members, no longer find it possible to maintain cooperation with Russia within the framework of the CBSS. Russia is one of the co-founders of the Council and has played an active role until now,’ said Foreign Minister Huitfeldt, who is currently leading the CBSS cooperation. Norway has held the Presidency of the Council since July 2021. 

Essential contact with the Russian authorities in areas relating to maintaining critical public functions and sustainable resource management in the north will continue until further notice.