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'No good for either country': Russia's Putin laments relations with Norway

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The Local ([email protected])
'No good for either country': Russia's Putin laments relations with Norway
An archive photo of Norway's former Prime Minister Erna Solberg (L) shaking hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the International Arctic Forum in Saint Petersburg on April 9, 2019. Relations have changed since Russia invaded Ukraine.(Photo by Olga MALTSEVA / AFP)

Russia's relationship with Norway has now been reduced to a minimum, which is hardly in the interests of those countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

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According to the Russian news agency Ria, Putin made the statement in a speech to new foreign ambassadors.

"Today, bilateral contacts between Russia and Norway have been reduced to a minimum. Dialogue on important international and regional issues has been frozen. That includes questions about the Arctic, which is important to both countries. This situation is unlikely to meet the interests of our two peoples," Putin said.

The Russian President recalled that the relationship with Norway over many years "was formed in a constructive spirit." He also pointed out that a thousand Soviet soldiers helped liberate northern Norway from the Nazis in 1944.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre responded that relations between the two countries had been reduced to a minimum due to Russia's actions.

"Interaction between Norway and Russia is reduced to a minimum because Russia is waging a full-scale war of aggression against neighbouring Ukraine. In other words, it is Russia's responsibility," he told the Norwegian news bureau NTB.

READ ALSO: How Norway's relations with Russia have changed

Analysts in Norway have agreed that Russia's invasion has had a profound negative effect on the relations between the two countries.

"Needless to say, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has negatively affected Norway's bilateral relationship with Russia. It has also had a negative effect on the security situation in the High North and the work of regional cooperation arrangements such as the Barents Euro-Arctic Council and the Arctic Council.

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"In March 2022, the cooperation with Russia in these organisations was temporarily suspended," Kristian Åtland a Senior Research Fellow at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment (FFI) told The Local.

"This was a necessary move, but it is bad news for the vulnerable Arctic environment, particularly if it becomes a long-lasting or semi-permanent situation.

"Without Russia, the other Arctic coastal states will be ill-equipped to handle non-military security challenges in the region. It may also become increasingly difficult to implement regional agreements on maritime search and rescue, oil spill preparedness, illegal fishing and so on, signed under the auspices of the Arctic Council," he added.

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