Rus­sia ig­nores Nor­way in is­land visit spat

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Rus­sia on Mon­day dis­missed Nor­way’s protests over a week­end visit to a Nor­we­gian ar­chi­pel­ago by a del­e­ga­tion that in­cluded Rus­sia’s Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Dmitry Ro­gozin.

Dur­ing a visit to the Arc­tic on Sun­day to inaugurate Rus­sia’s new float­ing re­search sta­tion, the del­e­ga­tion stopped by Nor­way’s Sval­bard is­lands.

Ro­gozin, who over­sees de­fense in the gov­ern­ment among other things and is known for his na­tion­al­ist views, has been slapped with sanc­tions bar­ring him en­try to the Euro­pean Union and non-EU Nor­way over his po­si­tion on Rus­sia’s an­nex­a­tion of Crimea.

Nor­way de­manded that Moscow ex­plain why he vis­ited the is­lands given the sanc­tions im­posed on him.

In re­sponse, Rus­sia’s for­eign min­istry dis­missed the ac­cu­sa­tions as “ab­surd” and said that the del­e­ga­tion made the stop for “lo­gis­ti­cal rea­sons.” The min­istry also cited a 1920 treaty grant­ing ac­cess to the is­lands to na­tion­als of all sig­na­tory na­tions in­clud­ing Rus­sia.

“They are sim­ply jeal­ous that we took a dip on the North Pole,” Ro­gozin said on Twit­ter.

Rus­sian tele­vi­sion on Mon­day showed Ro­gozin and the en­vi­ron­ment and the eco­nomic devel­op­ment min­is­ters talk­ing to re­searchers who are to spend at least three months at the sta­tion. An Or­tho­dox priest blessed the sta­tion, sprin­kling holy wa­ter on the of­fi­cials and re­searchers.

Ar­tur Chilin­garov, a se­nior mem­ber of the rul­ing United Rus­sia party and Arc­tic ex­plorer, said in tele­vised com­ments that a float­ing Rus­sian sta­tion was last in the Arc­tic in 1937, “when ev­ery­one said Bol­she­viks were on the North Pole. To­day, we are here.”

Ro­gozin on Sun­day posted pic­tures from the North Pole, de­scrib­ing the Arc­tic as “Rus­sia’s Mecca,” re­fer­ring to the holi­est city in Is­lam.

Rus­sia has put an in­creas­ing em­pha­sis on beef­ing up its mil­i­tary pres­ence in the Arc­tic amid the global com­pe­ti­tion for the re­gion’s vast re­sources.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.