Sun. Aug 14th, 2022

Oslo’s decision follows Russia’s suspension from the Council of the Baltic Sea States

The Norwegian cabinet announced on Friday that it has decided to freeze research and education cooperation with Russia after President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into neighboring Ukraine.

Norwegian Minister of Research and Higher Education Ola Borten Moe declared in a statement that the “attack on Ukraine must also have consequences,” including in the areas of research and education.

“We suspend all dialogue with the Russian authorities and as a general rule, all institutional agreements between Norwegian and Russian research and educational institutions must be put on hold,” he said.

Norway left the door open for individual institutions to “choose to maintain agreements,” saying they could potentially be done following a case-by-case assessment, as the government is seeking to punish Russian authorities, not civil society.

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“Academia can be an important counterweight to the authorities in Russia as well. That is why we give Norwegian universities, colleges and research institutes a small opening to continue collaboration that there is a professional basis for,” Borten Moe added.

For the time being, agreements and cooperation on nuclear preparedness, fisheries and resource management “will continue as before,” but the Norwegian government said it will “consider whether there is a need to tighten further” depending on Russia’s actions.

The latest measures from Norway come after members of the Council of the Baltic Sea States voted to suspend Russia’s membership over what they called the “unprovoked and illegal war” against Ukraine. Norway, which currently holds the presidency of the council, said the need to suspend Russia was “deeply regrettable” but Moscow’s actions meant they could “no longer find it possible to maintain cooperation.”