Norway’s foreign ministry decided on Monday evening to expel one diplomat from the Russian Embassy in Oslo in solidarity with the United Kingdom.
Russia is accused by the United Kingdom of being responsible for an attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter using the Novichok nerve agent. Russia denies being behind the incident.
“[To suggest] that this will be a great burden to Norway-Russia relations is probably an overstatement of Norway’s significance,” Conservative MP Michael Tetzschner told broadcaster NRK’s Politisk kvarter programme.
“We risk more by not standing with our allies. Our Nordic neighbours, Finland, Sweden and Denmark, are all part of this. That means that Norway does not particularly stand out,” Tetzschner added.
Other non-EU countries to also have expelled diplomats include the United States, Canada, Ukraine, Albania and Australia.
“It is correct and important that there is a coordinated international recognition of what the United Kingdom has been subjected to: the use of military nerve gas on their territory, targeting British citizens. We trust our allies, who are our friends and partners,” Tetzschner said to NRK.
The expulsion of over 100 Russian diplomats in total would give President Vladimir Putin’s government something to think about, he added.
“Expulsion is an accepted form of protest and a strong statement, which places the initiative on the other side to think about how much of a burden it is for reputation and connections to commit a gross infraction on another country’s sovereignty,” he said.