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Russia's Lavrov says decision on pardoning convicted Norwegian spy will take place soon

Russia's Lavrov says decision on pardoning convicted Norwegian spy will take place soon
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Norway's Foreign Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide attend a news conference following their talks in Kirkenes, northern Norway, October 25, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov -
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MAXIM SHEMETOV(Reuters)
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KIRKENES, Norway (Reuters) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that a decision on whether to pardon a convicted Norwegian spy jailed in Russia, Frode Berg, would come soon.

“He is condemned for espionage and has asked for a pardon. It has been assessed and the answer will come soon,” he told a news conference after holding talks with his Norwegian counterpart Ine Eriksen Soereide.

A Russian commission on Thursday recommended President Vladimir Putin pardon Frode Berg, jailed for spying, spurring hopes in Norway that he may be released as part of a spy swap.

Berg, a retired guard on the Norwegian-Russian border, was detained in December 2017 and jailed for 14 years after being convicted of gathering intelligence about nuclear submarines. He pleaded not guilty to charges of espionage on behalf of Norway.

Lavrov was speaking in Kirkenes, a Norwegian Arctic town situated some 15 km (9 miles) from Russia, on the 75th anniversary of its liberation by the Red Army. It was the first Norwegian town to be freed from Nazi occupation.

(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Jon Boyle, William Maclean)

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