Russia Adds Norway to Unfriendly Countries List, Escalating Tensions and Threatening Diplomatic Relations

Russia Adds Norway to Unfriendly Countries List, Escalating Tensions and Threatening Diplomatic Relations

In a recent development, Russia has included Norway on its list of "unfriendly countries" for allegedly targeting Russian diplomats abroad. This decision further strains the already fragile relations between Russia and the West.

The Russian government published the order on Thursday, which imposes restrictions on the number of local staff that the Norwegian diplomatic mission can hire in Russia, limiting it to 27 people. This decision comes in response to Norway's expulsion of 15 Russian diplomats in April, accusing them of carrying out intelligence activities under diplomatic cover. In retaliation, Russia expelled 10 Norwegian diplomats, marking it as an "act of revenge" according to Norway's Foreign Ministry.

However, they emphasize that there is no basis for claiming that Norway is unfriendly towards Russia, stating that the current situation is a result of Russia's war against Ukraine. Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt suggests that Russia has the power to end the war and highlights the importance of maintaining functioning diplomatic relations between the two nations, especially in demanding times.

Russia has been actively adding countries to its list of unfriendly states since 2021. The United States and Czech Republic were the initial countries listed, followed by Greece, Denmark, Slovakia, Croatia, and Slovenia. In May 2021, the United States and the Czech Republic were included, and in July 2022, the list expanded to incorporate the other aforementioned countries.

Russia has taken varying actions against these countries, ranging from restricting the number of local staff they can hire to banning them from hiring local employees altogether. Although Norway is not a member state of the European Union, it has adopted sanctions against Russia in alignment with those introduced by the EU.

The inclusion of Norway on Russia's list of unfriendly countries reflects the growing tensions between the two nations and their differing approaches to the ongoing conflicts in the region. As both countries share a border in the Arctic, the importance of maintaining diplomatic relations is crucial, even as disagreements persist.

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