Russia and Norway agree to resolve Svalbard transit dispute

A coal mine operated by a Russian state company is located in Barentsburg on the Svalbard Archipelago.
A coal mine operated by a Russian state company is located in Barentsburg on the Svalbard Archipelago. Copyright JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP, FILE
By Euronews with AP
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Russia had accused Norway of blocking supplies from reaching Russian miners due in the Arctic due to EU sanctions on Moscow.

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Russian and Norwegian officials say they have settled a dispute over coal mining shipments to the archipelago of Svalbard.

Moscow had accused Olso of blocking food supplies from reaching Russian miners in the Arctic region via mainland Norway.

The dispute had led to a week of tensions between the Kremlin and Oslo, amid Russia's war in Ukraine and EU sanctions.

But Sergey Gushkin, a Russian consul based in Svalbard, said that Norwegian carriers had now agreed to pick up the disputed cargo and cross the border with it.

"All these days there has been close contact between the Russian and Norwegian Foreign Ministries," he said on Russian TV. "The situation has been resolved, a workaround has been found."

The supplies are expected to reach the settlement of Barentsburg by ship on Friday, Gushkin added.

A Norwegian government spokesperson told AFP that the solution is "not a step backwards" and came after "good dialogue" with Russia.

Last month, local Norwegian authorities had reportedly prevented 20 tons of Russian goods at the land border between the two countries.

Just hours later, a cyberattack -- attributed to a "criminal pro-Russian group" -- temporarily knocked out public and private websites in Norway.

It came just days after a similar attack targeted websites in Lithuania amid a dispute over the transit of goods through the EU to Russia’s exclave of Kaliningrad.

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