Russian Embassy denies accusations of influence operations in Norway

The Russian Embassy in Oslo. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
“As normal there are no evidence, just general speculations,” the Embassy writes in a statement to the Barents Observer.

On Monday, Norway’s Intelligence Service said Russia tries to fuel discord between the north and the south of the country. “Kremlin seeks to exploit any issue that can create split,” Intelligence Director Lieutenant General Morten Haga Lunde said.

Russia now denies accusations of interference in Norway. In an e-mail to the Barents Observer, the Embassy in Oslo states that its activities are conducted in strict accordance with the norms of international law, the “same rules as followed by the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow.”

The Embassy says the accusations against Russia of influence operations, as raised by the Intelligence Service, are similar to the accusations coming from the Norwegian Police Security Service.

“As normal there are no evidence, just general speculations.”

The Embassy underlines that it shares the views by the intelligence service of Norway when it comes to Russia’s work for a broader bilateral dialog, a path for  promotion of lower tensions in the Arctic.

This is a rare case when we agree with Norway’s defense minister Frank Bakke-Jensen that ‘good neighboring relations requires that both parties pay attention to each other.’”

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Kirkenes in northern Norway at the 75th anniversary of the Red Army’s liberation. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)

In regards to Svalbard, Russia feel that it is being discriminated on the archipelago.

The is [lack of respect for each other] exactly what lacks from the Norwegian side on Spitsbergen, where the problems are accumulating, the Embassy’s email to the Barents Observer reads.

Wants stability and predictability

“The Russian leadership seriously aims to maintain stability and predictability in the north, develop pragmatic cooperation with Norway, political contacts, regional cooperation and on state level, maintain the atmosphere that developed in October 2019 during our two countries celebration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of northern Norway by the Red Army.”

The Embassy says, though, it is disappointing that the Norwegian-Russian business cooperation lacks dynamics, despite the positive outcome of the joint celebrations last October.

“This is something we will work to improve,” the Embassy states.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Beef up Arctic search and rescue to keep Canada’s North secure, experts argue, CBC News

China: It’s official: China releases its first Arctic Policy, Cryopolitics Blog

Finland: Why are we so afraid of China, even in the North?, Yle News

Greenland: Controversy over Greenland airports shows China still unwelcome in the Arctic, Cryopolitics Blog

Iceland: Iceland & UK sign agreement to boost security, defence cooperation, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Major rethinking of Arctic governance structures needed to address current threats, says analyst, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russian influence ops seek to fuel discord between Arctic Norway and Oslo, Norwegian intelligence service says, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Faced with Trump’s wavering support for NATO, Nordic nations stick together, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Trump, the Arctic Council & northern policy in Canada: Arctic stories to watch for in 2020 with Heather Exner-Pirot, Eye on the Arctic

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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