Moscow on Thursday added Norway to its list of “unfriendly” countries that restricts the number of local staff its diplomatic mission in Russia can hire.
“The government has included the Kingdom of Norway in the list of foreign states that commit unfriendly acts against Russian diplomatic and consular missions abroad,” Russia’s cabinet of ministers said in a statement.
The government decree caps the number of local staff that Norway can hire at its diplomatic missions in Russia at 27 people.
Moscow’s move comes after Norway in April expelled 15 Russian embassy employees accused of working undercover as intelligence officers. Russia retaliated two weeks later by expelling 10 Norwegian diplomats.
President Vladimir Putin first established the list of “unfriendly” states that carry out “hostile” actions against Russian missions abroad in 2021.
After initially limiting the list to the United States and the Czech Republic, Russia expanded it to include Greece, Denmark, Slovakia, Croatia and Slovenia. The latter two countries were banned from hiring local employees at their diplomatic missions altogether.
All eight countries on Russia’s “unfriendly” list have expressed support for Ukraine following Russia’s invasion in 2022.
Although not an EU member state, Norway has adopted sanctions against Russia in tandem with those introduced by the European Union.
Russia maintains a separate list of “unfriendly” countries that imposes economic limits on scores of Western countries that have slapped sanctions on Moscow for invading Ukraine.