Europe

Norway Closes Border to Russian Tourists Amid Ukraine Conflict

Oslo, Norway — May 23, 2024: Norway announced on Thursday that it will close its border to most Russian tourists, effectively shutting their last direct access to Europe’s Schengen area. 

The new restrictions, set to take effect on May 29, 2024, were declared in a government statement, highlighting the country’s ongoing response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The decision was announced by Norway’s Minister of Justice and Public Security, Emilie Enger Mehl. 

“The decision to tighten the entry rules is in line with the Norwegian approach of standing by allies and partners in the reactions against Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine,” Mehl stated.

Norway, although a member of NATO, is not part of the European Union. However, it aligns closely with EU policies, particularly those concerning security and foreign relations. 

Following the onset of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, the EU imposed various sanctions and restrictions on Russia. Norway’s recent move mirrors similar measures already adopted by the EU to isolate Russia diplomatically and economically.

Norway shares a 198-kilometer border with Russia in the Arctic, and the Storskog-Boris Gleb crossing is the only official entry point between the two countries. 

This crossing has been a critical point for Russian tourists entering Norway, especially after the initial visa restrictions were implemented in 2022.

In spring 2022, Norway ceased issuing most tourist visas to Russians following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. 

However, Russians with long-term visas issued before the conflict or those with visas from other Schengen member countries were still permitted to enter through Storskog. 

The new policy, effective from May 29, will revoke this allowance, effectively barring most Russian tourists from entering Norway.

Despite the new restrictions, the Norwegian government has outlined specific exceptions. Entry will still be permitted for Russians coming for work, study, or to visit close family members residing in Norway. 

These exceptions reflect a nuanced approach, aiming to minimize humanitarian impact while maintaining a firm stance against Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Norway’s alignment with the EU’s policies underscores its commitment to collective European security measures. 

The Schengen area, comprising most European countries, facilitates free movement across member states’ borders. 

By closing its border to Russian tourists, Norway further tightens the Schengen area’s perimeter against potential threats associated with the ongoing conflict.

The move has significant implications for Russian citizens who have relied on Norway as a gateway to Europe. With the Storskog-Boris Gleb crossing closed to most tourists, Russians face increased isolation as they lose one of their last direct links to the Schengen zone.

This decision is part of broader international efforts to pressure Russia into ceasing its military activities in Ukraine. 

Since the invasion, numerous countries have imposed economic sanctions, travel bans, and other punitive measures aimed at curtailing Russia’s capacity to sustain its military campaign.

As the conflict continues, Norway’s actions represent a steadfast commitment to supporting Ukraine and upholding international law. 

By tightening border controls, Norway aims to contribute to the broader strategy of diplomatic and economic pressure on Russia, hoping to expedite a resolution to the ongoing crisis.

 

This article was created using automation and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our staff editorial members

Gabriel Peters

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