30 July2014, News Wires – The Norwegian government said it planned to join the programme of economic sanctions the EU is imposing on Russia.
The EU and the US on Tuesday announced further sanctions targeting Russia’s energy, banking and defence sectors in the strongest international action yet over Moscow’s support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.
The curbs were chosen to spread their economic impact among the EU’s three main powerhouses, involving the UK’s financial markets, French arms sales and German technology exports.
Norway, which is a member of the European Economic Area but not the EU, said it had opposed Russia’s actions in Ukraine since the crisis began earlier this year.
Foreign Minister Boerge Brende said in a statement that “ever since Russia’s illegal annexation of the Crimea in March, the government has been clear that Norway must stand with its allies and partners in the responses to Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine”.
Brende said it was clear that pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine had received advanced weapons and supplies from Russia and that this had served to escalate the conflict, in a charge denied by Moscow.
The plans to join the sanctions will be discussed in Norway’s parliament the Storting before they are made final, the minister said.
Along with other sectors ranging from fishing to mobile phones, Norway holds strong oil & gas business ties with Russia.
State operator Statoil has signed strategic co-operation deals with oil giant Rosneft on working together in both the Russian Arctic and in Russian tight oil.
Norwegian rig owner Seadrill’s harsh environment spin-off North Atlantic Drilling signed a partnership deal with Russia’s Rosneft earlier this year that will see numerous NADL rigs head to Russia and could see Rosneft take a significant shareholding in the company.