Officials in Moscow say they have filed a formal protest to Oslo over the detention of a Russian fishing boat in the Arctic by Norway's coast guard near a remote chain of Norwegian islands.
The Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, about 850 kilometers north of mainland Norway, is seen as a potential flashpoint between Moscow and the West, as climate change has opened up the resource-rich region.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on April 17 that Moscow was seriously concerned about the detention of the Russian fishing vessel, named Borey, on April 2.
The ship was stopped within Norway's fishery-protection zone, which Russia considers illegal.
"We believe the practice of detaining foreign vessels by the Norwegian coast guard in the so-called fish-protection zone is in line with Norway's policy of illegally expanding its rights in the archipelago region," Zakharova told TASS.
Norway's Foreign Ministry confirmed the Borey had been detained by its coast guard, saying the fishing boat was suspected of violating Norwegian regulations in the protection zone.
"The case was solved under normal procedure at sea and the vessel was released," the Norwegian ministry said in a statement.
The ministry also confirmed it received Moscow's diplomatic protest but reiterated that the fishery zone was established legally.
Previous incidents of Russian vessels being detained in the area were reported in 2003, 2011, and 2016.