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Norway: Banned Russian Minister's Visit To Arctic Island 'Regrettable'

Norway says it has demanded that Moscow explain a visit to a Norwegian island by a Russian deputy prime minister who is banned from entering the country.

Norwegian Foreign Ministry spokesman Frode Andersen said on April 19 that Dmitry Rogozin's visit to the Arctic Svalbard islands was "regrettable."

Rogozin's trip, which started the previous day, was reportedly in the Arctic archipelago for the launch of a Russian polar station.

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Andersen said the ministry had informed the Russian Embassy in Oslo earlier this year that Russians who are on the EU and Norwegian sanctions list "are not wanted on Svalbard."

Rogozin is among dozens of Russian individuals and entities who were banned by the EU and Norway last year after Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.

Rogozin's Twitter account on April 18 showed a photo of him standing in front of a sign for Svalbard airport in the island's main town of Longyearbyen.

Russia has a mining settlement in Svalbard called Barentsburg.

Andersen said the Norwegian government is considering "reinforcing measures for travel to Svalbard."

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and Interfax