Russia expels 10 Norwegian diplomats in mirror move
Ambassador Robert Kvile was called to the Foreign Ministry skyscraper on Smolenskaya-Sennaya Square in Moscow Wednesday morning. He knew what would come. Two weeks ago, Norway expelled 15 Russian intelligence officers working under diplomatic cover.
Robert Kvile was given “a strong protest” in connection with Norway’s decision to expel the Russian diplomats, the press release from the Russian Foreign Ministry reads.
“This hostile step further aggravated the bilateral relations which are already at a critical low level,” the release says.
The Norwegian Ambassador was simultaneously informed that “other measures would follow in connection with the unfriendly actions by Oslo.”
Such action, the Ministry notes, would include restrictions on how the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow or the Consulate General in St. Petersburg can recruit Russian citizens. Norway also has an Honorary Consulate in Arkhangelsk with locals as employees. The decision to expel ten Norwegians is a big blow to the diplomatic relations between the two countries as Norway only have some 20 diplomats at the embassy and consulate general. Half of them will now have to pack up and leave.
It is not given any information about who the 10 Norwegian diplomats are, more than the Ministry note saying it includes the Defense Attaché.
Last year, Norway closed the doors at its Consulate General in Murmansk.
On Tuesday this week, Sweden expelled five diplomates from the Russian Embassy in Stockholm, arguing they were involved in activities “incompatible with their diplomatic status.”