Dear High North News reader! The Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to leave a mark on the High North, and potential scenarios and consequences are constantly discussed.
Two months in to the war in Ukraine, Lieutenant-Colonel and Researcher at the Norwegian Defense University College Tormod Heier warns against a Russia under pressure in a potential conflict:
In Finnmark, the police chief points to clear weaknesses near Norway’s border to Russia:
And the presence of NATO is clear in the North.
The British Navy’s nuclear submarine HMS Ambush is currently docked at Grøtsund port outside Tromsø, Norway following its operating in Norwegian waters for the past month. It claims to be familiarizing itself with Norwegian facilities for submarines in the Arctic.
On Friday, the Norwegian government decided to follow the EU and shut the borders for Russian goods transport and Russian vessels. However, Russian fishing vessels are exempt from the sanctions, nor are the sanctions to apply to Svalbard. (Norwegian only)
Western sanctions against Russia are actively discussed in many forums and University of Tromsø Professor Tore Henriksen says to High North News that Norway still will allow the Russian community in Svalbard to receive necessary supplies.
In this week’s commentary, our Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm writes that he, as a northerner, appreciates Norway’s not immediately following suit after every EU decision.
“Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre is accused of dragging his feet when it comes to sanctions against Russia. Our ports are not shut for Russian fishing vessels fast enough, and weapon supplies from Norway to Ukraine arrive too little and too late. There may be good reasons for that. As a northerner, I appreciate time to think – even when Europe is on fire”, Holm writes.
Terror and tourism
In Bodø, Norway, the theme of the week has been terror, which was the emphasis of Øvelse Nord 2022, the largest North Norwegian preparedness exercise.
The war undoubtedly leaves its mark on the news, also in the High North, yet work in research and business is still ongoing. Fortunately. Do read this op-ed about tourism and protection in Svalbard.
This weekend, we are entering the month of May and brighter days.
Wishing you all the best for the weekend,
Trine Jonassen News Editor
This newsletter was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.