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3 Aug, 2023 10:29

Russia restricts Norway’s diplomatic presence

Oslo has been designated an “unfriendly” nation and can now employ no more than 27 Russian nationals at its missions in the country
Russia restricts Norway’s diplomatic presence

Moscow has added Norway to its list of “unfriendly” nations, meaning that Oslo is unable to freely employ Russian nationals to service its embassy and consular offices in Russia. The number of locals that can be employed at Norway's diplomatic missions has been capped at 27.

The blacklist is one of several maintained by Russia to penalize foreign nations that it considers hostile. Norway became the eighth entry to the list related to local diplomatic personnel when it was added on Wednesday.

The Nordic nation joins the US, Czech Republic, Greece, Denmark, Slovenia, Croatia, and Slovakia. Its local personnel allowance is the second-largest after Greece, which can employ up to 34 Russian nationals.

President Vladimir Putin authorized the government to impose such penalties on foreign diplomatic missions in 2021 amid escalating tensions between Russia and Western nations.

All of the countries on the list at some point expelled Russian diplomats on allegations of espionage or on national security grounds. In mid-April, Norway declared 15 Russian nationals persona non-grata.

The Russian government noted in its announcement of the restrictions against Norway that the blacklist was not final.

Russia has already formally labeled Norway an “unfriendly” state under a separate list related to the repayment of debts to creditors in Western jurisdictions. The designation was established in March 2022 after the US and its allies froze Russia’s foreign currency reserves. This compelled the Russian government to allow domestic entities to repay larger debts to foreign lenders in rubles.