It is NRK that reports that Erna Solberg’s office informs that the Prime Minister will not go.
The Kremlin has invited 68 world leaders to stand side-by-side with President Vladimir Putin overlooking the Red Square military parade. Among the leaders that have accepted the invitation is Kim Jong-un from North Korea.
As BarentsObserver reported earlier in March, the Norwegian Prime Minister was by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said to have accepted the invitation and would be in Moscow on May 9th. The Prime Minister’s office in Oslo the same day denied what Lavrov said.
The invitation to Moscow was obviously a tricky case for Norway. In October last year, the Russian Foreign Minister participated in the 70th anniversary celebration of the Red Army’s liberation of Kirkenes in Norway’s northeastern corner.
Kirkenes was on October 25th 1944 the first town in northwestern Europe to be liberated from Nazi-German occupation.
Erna Solberg was sitting on the stage in Kirkenes on October 25th last year celebrating the WWII liberation anniversary together with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Børge Brende and King Harald V. (Photo: Thomas Nilsen)
Lavrov was invited by the Norwegian Government and was in Kirkenes together with Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Foreign Minister Børge Brende and King Harald V.
The planning for last year’s celebration in Kirkenes, however, started before Russia’s annexation of Crimea and military activities in eastern Ukraine.
Due to the tense situation, Norway has frozen most of its military contacts with Russia and no high-level political visits are made to Moscow.
In addition to Norway’s Erna Solberg, German Chansellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron has also declined the May 9th invitation to Moscow. The leaders of Poland and the Baltic states are also boycotting.