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Norway PM snubs Russia on WW2 bomber

Norway’s Prime Minister has flatly refused a Russian request for help recover the wreck of a World War II fighter plane sunk beneath the sea near Norway’s Russian border, pointing out that Russia "hadn't chosen the best time" to ask.

Norway PM snubs Russia on WW2 bomber
An American Douglas A-20C BO, similar to the Soviet plane which Russia has requested help recovering. Photo: United States Office of War Information photograph collection
“When you get a request to install the Russian Navy on Norway’s sea shores, it’s not something you say yes to,” she told Norway's NTB newswire after the subject came up at parliamentary questions on Wednesday. 
 
Norway put all military cooperation with Russia on ice in March following Russian aggression in Ukraine, in December deciding to extend the freeze until the end of 2015.
 
Norway’s armed forces have been unsettled by Russian aggression in Ukraine, fearing that Russia’s demonstrated willingness to annex territories near its western borders represents a long term risk for the country. 
 
The Soviet Douglas A-20C torpedo bomber was shot down in September 1944 off the coast of Berlevåg on Norway's border with Russia. The plane had been hunting for German convoys supplying the then occupied coast of northern Norway. 
 
The wreck is symbolic for Russia partly because it pilot, Evgeny Frantsjev, was awarded the "Hero of the Soviet Union” medal the month before the crash. 
 
Local politicians and historians in Finnmark have expressed disappointment at the government's unwillingness to help Russia find and retrieve the plane, arguing it would help maintain good relations across the border in difficult times. 
 
Norway has continued cooperating with Russia in the north over areas such as fisheries, despite Norway enacting EU-led sanctions against the country. 
 
During the parliamentary questions, Solberg ruled out sending weapons to Ukraine to help the country fight Russian-backed separatists in its eastern provinces. 
 
“Norway has very clear rules relating to weapons. It is not appropriate for us to send anything to a country in conflict and war,” she said. “We are also concerned that this will not be resolved with weapons.This must be resolved by political means.” 
 

RUSSIA

Norway accuses Russia over cyber attack on parliament

Norway's government on Tuesday said that it believes Russia was behind an August cyber attack targeting the email system of the country's parliament.

Norway accuses Russia over cyber attack on parliament
The parliament building in Oslo. File photo: AFP

The attack was detected in August, when Norway announced hackers had attacked the parliament's email system, gaining access to some lawmakers' messages.

“Based on the information the government has, it is our view that Russia is responsible for these activities,” foreign minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said in a statement.

The foreign ministry did not specify what information prompted its conclusions, but encouraged companies to follow guidelines on cyber security.

“This is a very serious incident, affecting our most important democratic institution,” she added.

In its annual threat assessment published in February, Norway's PST domestic intelligence service warned of “computer network operations” which they said represented a “persistent and long-term threat to Norway”.

In 2018, NATO member Norway arrested a Russian national suspected of gathering information on the parliament's internet network, but released him several weeks later due to lack of evidence.

The two countries, which share a common border in the Arctic, have generally enjoyed good relations but those have become strained since Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014.

READ ALSO: Norway's parliament attacked by hackers

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