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Russia attacks Norway over blocking access to the Arctic Archipelago

Russian officials expressed anger and threatened retaliation after saying that Norway had blocked the transportation of essentials such as food and medicine to Russian miners in the Svalbard Islands.

Norwegian authorities last month shut down two containers carrying 20 tonnes of Russian goods, including 7 tonnes of food, at the only border crossing with Russia. report..

The cargo was reportedly destined for Barentsburg, the second largest settlement in the Arctic Archipelago. work For the Russian state-owned coal mining company Arktikugol.

“Following Norwegian action, the country’s sovereignty over Svalbard is a big issue,” said Russian Senator Andrey Krishas. Said With the Telegram messaging app on Wednesday.

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied Arktikugol’s request to open a supply route to Barentsburg because of sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Said Constantine Kosachev, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Councilors.

The Svalbard Islands are under full Norwegian sovereignty.

However, Norwegian action claimed to have “violated the provisions” of the 1920 Svalbard Treaty, which would allow citizens of all signatories, including Russia, equal access to the resources of the archipelago.

“By their strong decision, Norwegian authorities are trying to keep Russian miners out of food, which is inherently immoral. It violates the principles of human rights and humanism,” he said. Said.

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Said It summoned a Norwegian Chargé d’Affaires and protested the blocking of “significant” shipments of Svalbard workers, including “food, medical equipment and construction materials,” at the Russian-Norwegian border.

“Unfriendly actions against Russia have shown that inevitably lead to appropriate retaliation,” the ministry’s statement said.

Russia is most likely to resort to normal diplomatic measures, such as political or economic sanctions and the expulsion of diplomats, in its response, Nikolai Dronin, chairman of the Arctic Development Project Office, told the Moscow Times.

“Russia and Norway have suspended almost all projects [together].. Since Norway is self-sufficient, there are no direct retaliation measures that could harm Norway. But of course, this incident would undermine the relationship between the two neighbors, “Dronin said.

Oslo Closed Under EU sanctions imposed on Moscow following the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, its port and land bordered Russia’s shipping in early May.

If the issue of crossing borders continues, essential goods for Russian workers in Svalbard must be delivered by sea from the port of Murmansk in Russia.

“Of course, there are various routes for carrying cargo to the archipelago, but they are more expensive. Logistics is very difficult due to the harsh climatic conditions. Therefore, the Russian side sought an exception to supply its own people in these remote areas, “Dronin said.

Consul General of Russia Sergei Guschin Said Russia and Norway are currently in talks to resolve the freight problem, and Oslo may not have been aware that stopping the freight at the border was preventing the freight from reaching Svalbard. Added that it is expensive.

Still, Alexander Betherov, the head of Arktikugol, Said Many shipping companies in other countries refuse to deliver cargo due to unprofitability.

In a letter to Norwegian authorities, Betherov warned that transportation problems could lead to “humanitarian emergencies.”

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/06/29/russia-hits-out-at-norway-over-blocked-arctic-archipelago-access-a78138 Russia attacks Norway over blocking access to the Arctic Archipelago

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