War in Ukraine For Members

EXPLAINED: How Norway could be impacted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: How Norway could be impacted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine
Norway's Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store delivers a statement with the European Commission president ahead of their meeting at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels on February 23, 2022. Photo by Stephanie Lecocq/ POOL / AFP

Tensions between Russia and western nations have flared up following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The Local takes a look at Norway's reaction to the crisis and how the country could be affected.


What's Norway's relationship with Russia like in general? 

Norway's shared border with Russia has meant that relations between the two countries can sometimes be more nuanced than other countries' relations with Russia.

The Nordic country shares a border with Russia in what's referred to as the High North. The country is also a member of the Barents Cooperation, a programme between Russia, Finland, Sweden and Norway. Next year the cooperation will be 30 years old.

The aim of the programme was to establish a regional cornerstone for cooperation in northern Europe. Norway also has a bilateral fishing agreement with Russia, and the two countries also have a deal on joint search and rescue operations in the Barents Sea.

Norway also established the first-ever agreement on visa-free travel between Russia and a Schengen member state, allowing visa-free travel between Kirkenes, north Norway and the two Russian towns of Nikel and Zapolyarny.

At a government level, relations between the two nations is somewhat frostier. In 2010, the two countries were in a territorial dispute over the Barents Sea, which was later resolved.

Several espionage cases have marred ties between Norway and Russia in recent years. Hackers believed to be linked to Russia have been accused of several cyber attacks, and in 2020, a Russian diplomat was expelled on suspicion of espionage.

Russia in 2017 arrested a Norwegian national accused of espionage and in 2020 expelled a Norwegian diplomat following one of their own diplomats being dismissed from Norway over espionage suspicions.

The presence of the GLOBUS radar system in Norway and its proximity to Russian naval bases has also contributed to tensions between the two nations. 


How has Norway responded to the invasion of Ukraine? 

Norway has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"This attack is a serious violation of international law and endangers the lives of innocent people. The Russian authorities have full responsibility for throwing Europe into this very dark situation. Therefore, Russia must immediately stop its military actions and respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre told news wire NTB.

Norwegian embassy personnel in Ukraine have been relocated from Kyiv to Lviv, western Ukraine as a result of the invasion.

On Tuesday, Norway said it would join the EU in sanctioning Russia over Ukraine, despite not being an EU member.

Norwegian authorities in Narvik, on Wednesday night, boarded a large luxury yacht owned by a former KGB officer and friend of Vladimir Putin, Vladimir Strzhalkovsky.

The operations manager in the Nordland Police District, Mari Lillestø, told public broadcaster NRK that the boarding was a routine check due to the vessel having non-Schengen passengers on board.

Former Norwegian intelligence chief Ola Kaldager told NRK that the vessel was probably in northern Norway to observe the Cold Response military exercises unofficially.

"It is not particularly surprising. This is something the Russians have been doing for years when there have been large, allied exercises in northern Norway," Kaldager said.


How will it affect Norway economically? 

Several markets have seen their stock markets fall since Russia launched its military attack on Ukraine. Oslo's stock exchange has also declined, although not to the same extent as other European markets.

Overall, the market was down 1.3 percent on Thursday morning.

While Norway's stock market has been negatively affected by the invasion, oil prices have continued to rise throughout the week.

Norway is western Europe's largest oil and gas exporter, with its energy sector set to see increased revenues from oil and gas due to the invasion.

Additionally, Norway's own energy supply is mostly reliant on hydroelectric power, meaning that electricity prices are unlikely to be as affected as in other countries.

Travelling to Ukraine

Since February 11th, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has advised against all travel to Ukraine.

The government has also urged Norwegian citizens to leave the country.

"I urge all Norwegian citizens who are still in Ukraine to leave the country. We have been in contact with those who have registered via or in the Reiseklar app", Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said in a statement on Thursday.



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