Norway announces closure of country to Russian tourists — Novaya Gazeta Europe
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Norway announces closure of country to Russian tourists

Russians in Norway wait to cast their vote in Russian presidential election in Oslo. Photo: EPA-EFE/Frederik Ringnes

Russians in Norway wait to cast their vote in Russian presidential election in Oslo. Photo: EPA-EFE/Frederik Ringnes

Norway is to close its almost 200 km-long border with Russia to most Russian tourists in new restrictions that will take effect on 29 May, the country’s Ministry of Justice and Public Security announced in a statement on Thursday.

Russian citizens travelling to Norway for “tourism and other non-essential travel” will now be “rejected upon entry across the external border”, according to a statement published on the Norwegian government’s website.

Norwegian Justice Minister Emilie Enger Mehl said that the new restrictions were “in line with the Norwegian approach of standing by allies and partners … against Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine”.

While Norway stopped issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens in spring 2022, the new restrictions target Russian citizens with Norwegian visas issued before that time or visas issued by other countries in Europe’s free movement Schengen Area.

Russian citizens visiting family in Norway, as well as those employed or studying in any Schengen country including Norway, will still be permitted to enter the country, the statement said.

Since September 2022, Norway’s Storskog border crossing has been the only land border where Russian tourists could enter the Schengen Area. All other EU member states bordering Russia closed their land borders to Russian citizens for non-essential travel after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The head of the Norwegian Police Security Service’s counterintelligence unit Inger Haugland told Oslo daily Aftenposten earlier this month that Russia was “carrying out sabotage in European countries in order to weaken Ukrainian defence capabilities”.

In April 2023, Norway expelled 15 Russian diplomats it accused of being undercover intelligence operatives at the Russian Embassy in Oslo, to which Russia retaliated by expelling 10 Norwegian diplomats and adding Norway to its list of “unfriendly countries” later that year.

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