Newsletter: Allies, Sabotage, and the Good Cooperation

Ellen Katrine Hætta, Chief of Police in Finnmark Police District on the Norwegian border to Russia. (Photo: Astri Edvardsen)

Dear High North News reader! Nuclear and sniper exercises, sabotage, a crumbling sanctions regime and strengthened allied bonds. At the same time, Norway and Russia are cooperating well on fishery. It has been a week of contrasts in the North.

After digital negotiations, Norwegian and Russian authorities have now set next year's fishing quotas for the Barents Sea. 

However, the agreement may be suspended by Russia if Norway tightens its port ban further. 

Moreover, the people-to-people cooperation has been dealt a blow. After Tromsø municipality in Northern Norway terminated the friendship agreement, it has now cut ties with its three Russian friendship cities. 

"A very bad idea," believes HNN's Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm, who calls sanctioning friendship with the Russian people both naive and short-sighted. 

"Instead, friendship agreements between Norwegian and Russian cities should be used to show that we, as democracies, are capable of distinguishing between the despot Vladimir Putin and his people." 

Sabotage and exercises

Damage to subsea communication cables near the Faroe and Shetlands Islands left much of the islands without internet access. 

Subsea fiber-optic cables in the south of France were also cut in what authorities call acts of sabotage.

In Northern Norway, there is an ongoing debate regarding the port ban exemption for Russian fishing vessels. 

The Finnmark Chief of Police agrees that a strong civilian presence and workplaces are important, but also believes that security concerns argue for a complete ban. 

Next week, the four Nordic Chiefs of Defense will present a plan for how the countries can coordinate their defenses. 

A crumbling sanctions regime 

Russian LNG finds new ways after Western sanctions. 

The recent news is that the French company Technip has finalized plans for an “orderly” exit from Novatek's LNG project. 

However, Europe's LNG imports still increased by 50 percent during the first nine months of 2022 because some EU countries that previously did not import any or only small quantities of natural gas from Russia now receive regular shipments of LNG from the country. 

Also, make sure to take a look at this op-ed about Russia's role on Svalbard.  

Wishing you all the best for the weekend on behalf of the editorial staff of High North News,

Trine Jonassen, News Editor 

This newsletter has been translated by Birgitte Annie Molid Martinussen.