Friday, July 1, 2022

Lawmaker says Russia won’t allow critical risks for its citizens in Spitsbergen - TASS

Konstantin Kosachev, a Federation Council deputy speaker, on Friday said Russia won’t allow a situation when risks for Russian citizens working on Spitsbergen will become critical or irreversible due to moves by Norway to block cargo delivery to the island.

"In any case, I would like to emphasize this, we will not allow a situation when the risks for Russian citizens working in Spitsbergen become critical and irreversible. There are more than enough possibilities to do that, and all these possibilities will be used," the senator told reporters.

He said that Russia is now waiting for a response from Norway to an official request about Norway’s blockade of the delivery of goods to Spitsbergen. "We believe that the actions of the Norwegian side violate the commitments under the Paris Treaty of 1920. We will determine our further reaction depending on what response we receive from the Norwegians," Kosachev said.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow was hoping for a prompt response by Oslo to an official inquiry on the situation with Spitsbergen, which was sent immediately after the incident occurred.

On June 29, the charge d'affaires of Norway in Russia was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry, and was told that situation around the delivery of goods to Spitsbergen was unacceptable as Norway blocked the transit of cargoes intended for the state-owned Arktikugol coal mining company.

As a result of Norwegian restrictions on freight transportation by Russian trucking companies, which were introduced in April, goods that are critical for the operation of the company and a Russian consulate on the island were stranded on the Russian-Norwegian border, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The goods include food, medical supplies, building materials and spare parts for motor vehicles.

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