Border traffic between Murmansk and Norway dropped after entry-ban for private car

No more Russian private cars here at Storskog, the checkpoint on the road from the Kola Peninsula to Norway. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)

The Norwegian police border control authority says travel across Schengen’s northern entry from Russia is dramatically lower compared with last month.

32 years of open border for private cars came to an end on October 3 when Norwegian authorities decided to join the EU’s tighter interpretation of the import sanctions on Russian private vehicles to also include short-term cross-border driving.

The sanctions, imposed in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine, made an immediate impact on the number of people crossing to border.

3,953 people entered or exited Storskog checkpoint in October, says Sven Arne Davidsen, immigration controller with the police. That is 1,878 people less than in September, a 32% drop from September.

Compared with October 2022, the decline is 43%.

This summer, traffic from Russia to Norway increased as other European neighbors banned Russian citizens with tourist visas from entering. Consequently, vacation travelers from other regions of Russia drove north and used Norway as transit to other European destinations.

In July, border traffic was 6,886 people, and in August the number was 6,700.

Kirkenes, the border town, has since the ban on private vehicles came into force in early October, seen an increase in Russian mini-busses with passengers heading for day-tour shopping.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: CSIS warning Inuit leaders about covert foreign investment in Arctic, documents show, CBC News

China: Satellite imagery reveals construction progress on new Chinese Antarctic base, Eye on the Arctic

Denmark: Danish policy prioritizes low-conflict Arctic amidst Russian tensions, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: China ship is focus of pipeline damage probe, Finland says, Reuters

Iceland: Nordics should aim for common approach to China’s Arctic involvement says report, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Svalbard’s travails in a changing Arctic, Blog by Marc Lanteigne

Russia: Putin tells Xi: We will connect Kola Bay with Persian Gulf, The Independent Barents Observer

United Kingdom: Russia’s growing dependence on China altering dynamics in Arctic, UK committee hears, Eye on the Arctic

United States: White House releases U.S. Arctic strategy implementation plan, 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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