Norway extends Russian military freeze

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12:06 CET+01:00
Norway announced on Friday it is extending a freeze in military cooperation with Russia until the end of 2015 because of its neighbour's role in the Ukrainian crisis.

"The situation in east Ukraine is serious, and Russia is unarguably playing a destabilising role," Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said in a statement.

"Russia is supporting the separatists in east Ukraine and has deployed military forces along the border. That is not acceptable."

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Norway generally has a close relationship with its largest neighbour but has decided to apply to Moscow the same sanctions as the European Union, despite not being a member of the bloc.

The Nordic nation suspended its military activities with Russia in March, following the annexation by Moscow of the Crimean peninsula and the beginning of the crisis in east Ukraine, which is partially controlled by pro-Russian rebels.

All ties are not cut, however, as both countries still cooperate in several domains including their coast guard, border surveillance and sea rescue.

Neighbouring Sweden, which is not a fellow NATO member, brought back on Thursday the possibility of using reservists, with Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist citing "Russia's rearmament" as one of the reasons.

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