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MOSCOW, August 10. /TASS/. Moscow decisively protests against Oslo’s decision to deport those included in the sanctions lists from Svalbard Islands (Spitsbergen) and demands to cancel this unfriendly step, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
"On August 7, Norway issued a temporary order on deportation from the Svalbard Islands of those included in UN Security Council sanctions lists and persons included in ‘international restrictive measures on their movements’. It is absolutely obvious that those who fell under EU’s anti-Russian sanctions are meant by the latter category," the foreign ministry said.
"The actions of the Norwegian side are not in line with the spirit of international cooperation on the Svalbard Islands on the basis of Svalbard Treaty of 1920. We decisively protest against the aforementioned unfriendly step and demand immediate reconsideration of the imposed restrictions," the ministry stressed.
The Spitsbergen, or the Svalbard Islands, was handed over to Norway after WWI on condition of preserving its special international status. The 1920 Spitsbergen Treaty fixed Norway’s sovereignty over the archipelago and granted equal rights to more than 40 countries that signed the Treaty to use its resources. However, Norway and Russia are the only countries to preserve their economic presence on Spitsbergen. Spitsbergen can be reached by regular flights via continental Norway, for which a transit Schengen visa may be necessary, or by charter flights from Russia.