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Arctic: Moscow accuses Norway of blocking transit to the Svalbard archipelago | War in Ukraine

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We have called on the Norwegian side to settle this matter as soon as possible.said Russian diplomacy in a statement, announcing that the Norwegian charge d’affaires in Moscow had been summoned to the ministry.

We pointed out that unfriendly actions towards Russia lead to retaliatory measureshe added.

According to Russia, Norway blocked at the land border crossing point of Storskog supplies of equipment and food that were to be loaded on board a ship to reach Svalbard for Russian miners in the archipelago.

Norwegian and Russian miners have worked side by side for decades in Svalbard, and their relationship now faces the consequences of the war in Ukraine.

Photo: Reuters/HANNAH MCKAY

According to Sergei Gouchtchin, Russian consul on the Arctic archipelago, it is about 20 tons of goods, including 7 tons of food products and the rest of spare parts and essential equipment to prepare for winter.

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According to the diplomat, Norway is blocking the goods in application of European sanctions adopted against Russia because of its offensive against Ukraine.

I think that Norway did not think well by joining the European sanctions. »

A quote from Sergey Guchtchin, Russian Consul on the Arctic Archipelago

The diplomat said Russia was exploring alternative supply routes, including from Europe or by sea from the Russian city of Murmansk.

A thousand kilometers from the North Pole, Svalbard is twice the size of Belgium and sometimes considered the NATO’s Achilles heel in the Arctic.

An atypical treaty, concluded in 1920 in Paris, recognizes the sovereignty of Norway over Svalbard, but also guarantees the nationals of the signatory States, today 46, including Russia, the freedom to exploit the natural resources there. on a footing of perfect equality.

It is in this capacity that, for decades, Russia – the USSR before it – has been extracting coal on these lands inhabited by less than 3,000 people of around fifty nationalities.

Russian miners have been present in Svalbard since Soviet times, as indicated by this sign, which reads “Our goal is communism”.

Photo: Getty Images/AFPJONATHAN NACKSTRAND

Federation Council Deputy Chairman Konstantin Kosatchev accused Oslo on Telegram of violating the Paris Treaty.

The Norwegian authorities seek to make Russian miners go without food, which in itself is immoral. It violates human rights, and the principles of humanismhe accused.

The Russian consul, however, denied any risk of food shortages.

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