Norway authorizes direct arms sales to Ukraine

The Norwegian government has authorized direct sales of arms and military goods to Ukraine starting January 1. Normally, Norwegian law prohibits manufacturers from directly selling weapons to belligerent countries. An exception was made for Ukraine.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide emphasized that supporting Ukraine is unprecedentedly important for the security of the country itself and Europe as a whole. “We are obliged to take into account that this illegal war could last for a long time”, he said.

Norway is not a member of the European Union but is part of the European Economic Area and is also a member of NATO. Since the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine in February 2022, Norwegian authorities have condemned Russian aggression and joined European countries’ financial and military support for Ukraine. Norway supplies Ukraine with weapons both from its own stockpiles and jointly with partner countries, and trains the Ukrainian military.

However, earlier Norwegian manufacturers of weapons and other military goods could not conclude direct contracts with the Ukrainian government. Norway has the so-called Storting principle, which prohibits direct arms exports to countries where there are wars – interstate or civilian. As stated in the government’s statement, this principle will continue to be respected for other possible importing countries with the exception of Ukraine.

Norway has consistently supported Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression – both on its own and as part of joint initiatives between Europe and NATO countries. In 2023, Norwegian authorities have allocated some 11 billion kroner (more than $1 billion) for military support to Ukraine. The kingdom also provides Ukraine with substantial humanitarian support.

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