Top Russian legislators question Norwegian sovereignty over Svalbard,

The Norwegian decision not to allow the transportation of food supplies destined Svalbard through its border-crossing point at Storskog has triggered anger in downtown Moscow.

The Russians could have shipped the goods from Murmansk to the archipelago themselves, but instead insist that the delivery is made by Norwegian ships from the port of Tromsø.

Two containers with 7 tons of supplies were first sent from Murmansk towards Storskog where they were halted. Like other European nations, Norway has closed its seaports and land border for Russian cargo traffic under the EU’s 5th package of sanctions.

According to Konstantin Kosachev, Norwegian authorities are now deliberately trying to prevent Russian coal miners in Svalbard from getting food supplies. “It is immoral in its essence, and it violates human rights and the principles of humanism,” the legislator writes on his Telegram channel.

In addition, it is also a violation of the Svalbard Treaty, Kosachev argues, and explains that Russia and other signatory states recognise Norway’s sovereignty over the archipelago only on the condition that the country adheres to the conditions of the agreement.

According to the top Russian legislator, Norway is now violating Article 3 of the treaty. The article regulates issues of transportation. […]

The Norwegian ban soon got the attention also of Andrei Klishas, Chair of the Committee on Constitutional Legislation. According to Klishas, “the sovereignty of this country [Norway] over Spitsbergen is now under big question.”

On his Telegram channel, the top legislator underlines that “our citizens at Spitsbergen must be provided everything necessary, and their security must be fully guaranteed.”[…]

According to Øystein Jensen, Research Professor at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, the goods delivery issue at Storskog can in no way be connected with the Svalbard Treaty.

“The Svalbard Treaty does not apply at Storskog, and that issue can not even be taken seriously,” he underlines.

He also stresses that there can be no question about Norwegian sovereignty over Svalbard and that the recent statements from the Russian side could be seen as a political move implicating that Russia should for example pull out of the treaty.

“Norwegian sovereignty is the most important issue in the treaty, [and] the sovereignty applies also for states that are not part of the treaty because of customary law,” he explains. Läs artikel