Norway wants to continue normal relations with Russia despite mutually restrictive measures, the country’s Foreign Minister Borge Brende said during an international conference in Kirkenes.
"We want the relations with our Eastern partner to remain normal. The both sides have an intention to continue the cooperation, and we appreciate that," the minister stated.
However, Norway "cannot turn a blind eye" to Russia’s actions and will continue to maintain its stance, according to him.
"We intend to keep and enhance the cooperation and to continue the development in business as far as possible under the current restrictive measures," Brende said.
He also added that the Norwegian Foreign Ministry unveiled 16 million euros to develop Russia-Norway cooperation in the north for the next three years.
Relations between Russia and the European Union deteriorated following the start of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine in 2014. The bloc, as well as a number of other states, accused Moscow of interfering in Ukrainian internal affairs and imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia. Russia has repeatedly stated that it is not involved in the Ukrainian crisis and is interested in the resolving of the political and economic crisis in Ukraine.