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23 May, 2024 10:55

Russian neighbor to close border for tourists 

Norway has pledged to deport people who violate the updated restrictions starting next week 
Russian neighbor to close border for tourists 

Norway will close its border for Russian tourists and other ‘non-essential’ visitors, the Nordic state’s government announced on Thursday, adding that people who violate the restrictions will be deported.

The measure, which comes into effect as early as next week, is part of efforts to tighten sanctions imposed on Moscow in early 2022 following the start of the Ukraine conflict, the minister of justice and public security, Emilie Enger Mehl, said in a statement.

Norway, which shares a land border with Russia, is not an EU member state, but has taken part in many of the EU’s restrictions on Moscow. In September 2022, Oslo “temporarily suspended” a visa facilitation agreement with Russia that was signed in 2007 and was aimed at making it easier for people in the neighboring countries to travel. 

The updated regulations will apply both to travelers with visas issued by Norway before visa practices were restricted, and to visas issued by other Schengen countries, the government said. “Russian citizens whose purpose is tourism and other non-essential travel will be rejected upon entry across the external border,” the press release reads, adding that the change will come into force on May 29.

The government added that exceptions may be granted in certain cases, including visits to close family members residing in Norway, as well as traveling for work or studying in the country. 

The Norwegian authorities pledged to “keep a close eye” on the border and traffic at the Storskog crossing point, and to “take action if necessary.” Storskog has been the only open land border from Russia to the Schengen area since Poland, Finland, and the Baltic states closed their borders as part of sanctions. 

Last year, Norway joined the ban on Russian-registered vehicles that had been enforced by Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland. 

The measures were adopted by the country after the European Commission stated that existing regulations prohibit the import or transfer of goods originating in Russia.

Russia will retaliate against Norway’s ‘discriminatory’ decision, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said regarding the ban on Russia tourists. He added that the Nordic state’s authorities have opted to further worsen bilateral relations between the neighboring states.