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Nearly all Russians barred from entering Norway over war against Ukraine

Norway on Thursday announced that it will restrict nearly all entry into the country by Russian citizens in response to Moscow's war on Ukraine. File Photo by Rune Hellestad/UPI
Norway on Thursday announced that it will restrict nearly all entry into the country by Russian citizens in response to Moscow's war on Ukraine. File Photo by Rune Hellestad/UPI | License Photo

May 23 (UPI) -- Norway's government on Thursday announced a ban on entry for nearly all Russian citizens in response to its war on Ukraine.

Beginning May 29 Russian citizens seeking to enter Norway for tourism and "other non-essential travel" will have their entry denied at the external border with exceptions granted only to travelers visiting close family living in Norway or for Russian citizens working or studying in Schengen countries.

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"The decision to tighten the entry rules are in line with the Norwegian approach of standing by allies and partners in the reactions against Russia's illegal war of aggression against Ukraine," said Minister of Justice and Public Security Emilie Enger Mehl in a statement.

Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Norway's decision discriminates against Russians.

"Of course, such decisions -- they cannot remain unanswered -- this is the first. Second -- of course, the decision is exclusively discriminatory," Peskov told reporters.

He added that Russia "regrets that the Norwegian leadership has chosen this path of deterioration of our bilateral relations."

Norway had already restricted visas for Russians beginning in the spring of 2022 and said tourist visas generally have not been granted since then.

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The Norwegian government said the new restrictions apply "both to those who have visas issued by Norway before visa practices were restricted in the spring of 2022 and to visas issued by other Schengen countries."

Schengen refers to a treaty signed by most European Union countries except Cyprus and Ireland that allows free movement between participating countries.

In August 2023, Russia added Norway to its list of nations committing unfriendly actions directed at Russian diplomatic and consular missions.

Norway expelled 15 Russians it said were intelligence officers in April 2023 for actions incompatible with their diplomatic status.

Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt said there was no basis to claim Norway was unfriendly toward Russia, explaining to government-owned public broadcaster NRK that the situation between the countries "is due to Russia's war against Ukraine."

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