Norway To increase support to Ukraine and provide military equipment
The Norwegian Government has allocated up to NOK 2 billion for humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and will provide military equipment such as helmets and bulletproof vests to the war-torn country. The Government will also align itself with the sanctions imposed by the EU on Russia and will ensure that its sovereign wealth fund divests its Russian assets.
‘Russia’s military attacks in Ukraine are causing widespread loss of life and suffering in the civilian population, destroying vital infrastructure and forcing people to flee their homes. In the light of this, we are increasing our humanitarian support in connection with the crisis in Ukraine to NOK 2 billion,’ said Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
Today, Norway and other members of the UN Security Council requested an emergency meeting of the Council to discuss the humanitarian situation in Ukraine.
Norway has already provided NOK 250 million in humanitarian support in response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, primarily to the UN Refugee Agency, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund. This has now been increased to a total of NOK 2 billion.
‘Today I have met with several of the key humanitarian actors working in Ukraine. We share deep concerns over the grave impacts of the hostilities on the civilian population. A large number of people in Ukraine will be in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, and this will have major consequences for neighbouring countries experiencing an influx of refugees,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.
The extraordinary allocation to Ukraine is intended to enhance the efforts of humanitarian actors to help the most vulnerable groups, including children. The funds will be used for humanitarian activities by the UN, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Norwegian humanitarian organizations in Ukraine and in the neighbouring countries that are receiving refugees. The support is being provided as flexible funding to ensure that the actors involved can target the areas where the needs are greatest.
The Government has decided to send military equipment such as helmets and bulletproof vests to Ukraine.
‘The Ukrainian people are fighting for survival against a superior military force. Under these special circumstances, we are authorizing the provision of military equipment to a country at war. The Government will be donating military equipment such as helmets and bulletproof vests to Ukraine. Russia’s attack on Ukraine is threatening European security in a way we have not experienced since the Second World War. It poses a threat to the norms, values and principles on which our democratic societies are founded,’ said Mr Gahr Støre.
‘This is equipment that Ukraine has requested and that we can donate quickly,’ said Minister of Defence Odd Roger Enoksen.
All the parliamentary leaders in the Storting have been consulted on the decision, and a meeting of the Enlarged Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence will be held later on Sunday evening.
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund to divest from Russia
The Minister of Finance will ask the Government Pension Fund Global, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, to freeze all its investments in Russia immediately. In addition, he will ask the fund to divest from Russia.
‘Given the way the situation has evolved, we consider it necessary for the fund to divest its Russian assets,’ said Minister of Finance Trygve Slagsvold Vedum.
Ever since the Russian occupation of Crimea and the destabilization of Eastern Ukraine, Norway has stood together with the EU, the US and other like-minded countries in responding to Russia’s violations of international law.
Together with the EU, Norway is now introducing historically harsh sanctions against Russia. The sanctions have been introduced stepwise, and further sanctions will be introduced today. These will also target Belarus.
The sanctions will isolate Russia financially by targeting its central bank and will exclude a number of Russian banks from the Swift payment system.
In addition, the package of sanctions will have far-reaching consequences for individuals who are considered to have facilitated the military aggression against Ukraine.
Norwegian airspace will be closed to Russian aircraft.
‘The EU is imposing tougher economic sanctions in a number of areas. Sanctions are most effective if many countries introduce the same restrictions. We are therefore in close contact with the EU and our neighbouring countries, and preparations for implementing the wide-ranging package of sanctions are in full swing,’ said Prime Minister Støre.