Advertisement

Norway to boost security along border with Russia

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 30 Sep, 2022 Updated Fri 30 Sep 2022 17:12 CEST
image alt text
The Norwegian border crossing station at Storskog near the town of Kirkenes in northern Norway. - Norway said it would increase security at its border with Russia in the Arctic and close it entirely if needed. The Storskog crossing on Norway's 198-kilometre (123-mile) border with Russia in the Far North is practically the only remaining point of entry into the border-free Schengen area that is still open to Russians with tourist visas. Photo by Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP

Norway said on Friday it would increase security at its border with Russia in the Arctic and close it entirely if needed.

Advertisement

The Storskog crossing on Norway's almost 200-kilometre (120-mile) border with Russia in the far north of the country has in recent days been practically the only remaining point of entry into the Schengen area for Russians with tourist visas.

"The police have solid control over Storskog and we're now strengthening our presence in the border area out beyond the crossing point," Justice Minister Emilie Enger Mehl said.

In practice, this means sending a police helicopter equipped with sensors to the area from Friday to detect people trying to illegally cross the border.

Advertisement

Unlike neighbouring Finland, which has seen a surge in arrivals from Russia since President Vladimir Putin called up army reservists to fight, Norway has not closed its border to Russians carrying EU Schengen citizens.

"We will close the border swiftly if it becomes necessary. Such changes can happen at short notice," Mehl said.

The minister spoke shortly before the European Union unveiled tighter visa requirements for Russians applying for short-stay Schengen visas.

Norway is not a member of the European Union but is part of the Schengen area, whose 26 nations have abolished passport and visa checks at their mutual borders. It all but stopped issuing Schengen tourist visas to Russians in May. But Russian holders of visas issued by other European countries have been able to cross into the Nordic state.

Norwegian police said the number of arrivals was still very limited. Just over 160 people crossed from Russia into Norway via Storskog on Thursday, of whom 137 had tourist visas. Nearly 300 arrived on Wednesday and nearly 380 on Tuesday.

Tens of thousands of Russians have fled abroad since Putin announced the military mobilisation on September 21, preferring exile to the war in Ukraine.

More

Comments

The Local 2022/09/30 17:12

Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also