OSLO, July 30 (Reuters) - Norway, an exporter of oil and gas technology and food products to Russia, said on Wednesday it planned to join the programme of economic sanctions the European Union is imposing on Moscow.
The EU and the United States on Tuesday announced further sanctions targeting Russia’s energy, banking and defence sectors in the strongest international action yet over Moscow’s support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Norway, which is not a member of the EU, has extensive business ties with Russia and its state-owned oil company Statoil plans to explore for hydrocarbons with Rosneft in the Arctic.
“Ever since Russia’s illegal annexation of the Crimea in March, the government has been clear that Norway must stand with its allies and partners in the responses to Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine,” Foreign Minister Boerge Brende said in a statement.
Brende said it was clear that pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine had received advanced weapons and supplies from Russia, and called on Russia to cease its interference. Moscow has denied arming the rebels.
Other Norwegian firms with connections to Russia include Seadrill, the world’s biggest offshore driller by market value, which signed an extensive cooperation deal with Rosneft in May. Telecom firm Telenor holds a third of Russia-focused mobile phone operator Vimpelcom.
Norwegian exporters to Russia include fish farmers such as Marine Harvest, the world’s biggest salmon producer.
The new sanctions will require approval from the parliament in Oslo. (Reporting by Balazs Koranyi, editing by John Stonestreet)