"The increased influx of asylum seekers to Norway is a challenge, and in Finmark [northern region bordering Russia] we have struggled to provide everyone with shelter," Kallmyr told Norway's VG newspaper.
According to Kallmyr, many of those arriving have already been granted residence permits in Russia, or may be able to receive them. "We can then avoid processing these applications and send them back, following the principle of the first country of arrival," he said.
"Some of these people even have dual citizenship and have lived in Russia for several years. Others have recently arrived, but are not persecuted in Russia. Nor is there an ongoing war or other security situation in Russia suggesting these refugees could not be returned," he underscored.
Norwegian authorities have in recent weeks repeatedly expressed concern over the new, so-called northern refugee route through Russia.
The minister also questioned why the refugees are not heading for neighboring Finland and stated that Russian authorities must be aware of the situation, as the asylum seekers are arriving from a militarized area where there usually are no civilians.
Norway's Foreign Minister Borge Brende told local media on Thursday that he had asked his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov for an explanation regarding the situation on the sidelines of a Barents Euro-Arctic Council meeting earlier this week.