MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Norway will introduce changes to its legislation to prevent blacklisted individuals from legally staying in the Arctic Ocean's Svalbard archipelago after a high-profile Russian official sanctioned by Oslo paid a visit to the islands last week, a spokesman for the Norwegian Foreign Ministry told Sputnik Tuesday.
On Saturday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin visited the Russian mining community of Barentsburg on Spitsbergen, the largest island of Svalbard archipelago. On Sunday, Norway said the visit was "regrettable" and threatened expanding sanctions against Russian officials, imposed over the crisis in Ukraine.
The Svalbard archipelago is under the full sovereignty of Norway. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Monday that Oslo's opposition to Rogozin's trip was unfounded, citing the 1920 Svalbard treaty.
Andersen, who is also a spokesperson for Foreign Minister Borge Brende, said that Oslo has made it clear that blacklisted individuals are not wanted on Svalbard.
"In light of this, it is regrettable that Russia does not comply with a clear request from a neighbor," Andersen said.
He added that Oslo wishes to maintain a good relationship with Moscow, which he said depends on mutual respect.
Last year, Norway, along with the European Union and the United States, introduced economic restrictions and individual sanctions against certain Russian officials suspected of fuelling the internal armed conflict in Ukraine. Russia has firmly dismissed the allegations.
In August 2014, in response to the Western sanctions, Moscow imposed a year-long ban on the import of a range of food items from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia and Norway.