- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, 2022 Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

Norwegian Mayor Decries Arms Help to Ukraine Amid Russia Special Op

© AFP 2023 / Pierre-Henry DESHAYES / A street sign in Finnish and Russian is seen in the city of Kirkenes, northern Norway, near the Russian border on June 4, 2013
A street sign in Finnish and Russian is seen in the city of Kirkenes, northern Norway, near the Russian border on June 4, 2013 - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.03.2022
According to Oslo University researcher Cecilie Hellestveit, Norwegian arms assistance to Ukraine, which was reproached by the mayor of the municipality that borders Russia, technically makes the Nordic country a co-belligerent and empowers Russia to attack targets in Norway.
Sør-Varanger Mayor Lena Bergeng of the Labour Party has decried her country's decision to send arms to Ukraine amid a Russian special operation there, arguing that her party comrades in parliament should have said no.
Since 1944, when the Red Army liberated Kirkenes from the Nazis, Sør-Varanger that borders Russia's Murmansk Oblast, has cultivated a good neighbourly relationship with the Soviet Union and later Russia.

"When Norway chose to send weapons to Ukraine, then people started to feel a little scared here. Remember, we are Russia's closest Norwegian neighbour. I haven't experienced the population here having felt this way before", Bergeng told the newspaper Verdens Gang.

According to Bergeng, sending arms means "getting involved in a completely different way".

"I think we should have stopped short of sending weapons. It is so important to have a good relationship with Russia, especially for us in the neighbourhood", she emphasised.

Local residents have in recent years enjoyed close cross-border relations with Russians, with trade and services booming – to the point of Kirkenes sometimes being referred to as "Little Russia" due to signs in Cyrillic for Russians' convenience. According to Bergeng, stifled trade would make life difficult for many local inhabitants.
Earlier this week, the Norwegian government decided to donate up to 2,000 M72 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, as fellow Nordic countries also expressed their desire to help. Even the US and its allies have promised to ramp up military assistance and lethal aid to Ukraine.
Cecilie Hellestveit, a researcher at the Institute of International Law at the University of Oslo, argued that the Norwegian arms delivery technically makes the country a co-belligerent. She referred to the Hague Convention of 1907 on neutrality, which means not supporting either side in an armed conflict.

"The criteria for not being considered a co-belligerent is that you do not contribute militarily to one of the parties. If one delivers weapons of certain offensive quality, as we do now, then it means that we become co-belligerents under these rules of neutrality. Then Russia can, under certain conditions, attack targets in Norway", she warned in an interview with Norwegian broadcaster NRK, adding that it would not be a violation of the UN Charter for Russia to attack targets linked to the delivery of military capabilities to Ukraine.

Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine

On 24 February, Russia launched a special military operation, offering protection to the republics of Donbass it had formally recognised earlier that week. Moscow has made it clear that it harbours no occupation plans and that the operation's goal is to protect the civilians of Donbass from genocide and demilitarise and "de-Nazify" Ukraine. Only Ukrainian military infrastructure is being targeted with high-precision weapons.
In response, the West, including the US, the UK, the EU, and others, imposed comprehensive sanctions against Russia, shut their airspace to Russian aircraft and sanctioned a number of Russian banks and officials.
The West has furthermore ramped up its censorship campaign against Russian foreign-language media, shutting down websites and broadcasts, and blocking or otherwise limiting access to Sputnik and RT on a number of social media platforms.
After an initial round of negotiations in Belarus, a second round is slated for 3 March. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also said he was ready to "talk with" his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
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