Strong Norwegian reaction to Rogozin’s Svalbard tour

Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin posted this photo of himself on Saturday. The photo is taken just outside the terminal building at Longyearbyen airport.

Oslo asks Moscow for an explanation after BarentsObserver earlier today reported that Russia’s sanctioned Deputy Prime Minister suddenly appeared on Svalbard.

UPDATED April 19th: Rogozin to top of the world after controversial Svalbard visit

Dmitry Rogozin is on EU and Norway’s sanction list of individuals not allowed entry because of his direct involvement in Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

BarentsObserver could earlier on Saturday report that the controversial Russian Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the defense sector arrived in Longyearbyen on Norway’s Arctic Svalbard archipelago.

“We have clearly expressed to the Russian Embassy in Oslo that listed people are not wanted on Svalbard,” says Head of Communication with the Foreign Ministry, Frode Andersen, to BarentsObserver late Saturday evening.

Frode O. Andersen is head of communication with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“It is therefore regrettable that Rogozin stays at Svalbard,” Andersen continues.

“We have asked Russian authorities for an explanation.”

It is still unclear how Dmitry Rogozin traveled to Svalbard. He has likely arrived with a Russian charter aircraft directly to Longyearbyen airport. The Deputy Prime Minister travels together with Governor of the Nenets Autonomus Okrug, Igor Koshin. The governor’s press officer says to BarentsObserver that they after Svalbard are heading towards the North Pole.

Norway will now consider reinforced measures regarding entry to Svalbard.

“From the Norwegian side we will consider reinforced measures concerning entry, also including Svalbard,” Frode Andersen says to BarentsObserver.

Rogozin’s appearance on Svalbard was unkown to Norwegian authorities before being contacted by BarentsObserver.

EU’s sanctions list where Dmitry Rogozin is included, also followed by Norway, was made in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March last year and later expanded in reponse to the growing unrest and war in Eastern Ukraine. The individuals on the list, including Dmitry Rogozin, are sanctioned because of what Norway and the EU claims are direct involvement in destabilizing the situation in Eastern Ukraine.