Norway allows direct arms sales to Ukraine

In a major policy change announced on 1 January 2024, the Norwegian government approved the direct sale of arms and defense-related products by Norwegian manufacturers to the Ukrainian defense authorities.

Effective from the date of the announcement, Norway – already part of it Coalition F-16 pushing for the transfer of advanced air combat platforms – will deepen the nation’s involvement in defending Ukraine against a full-scale Russian invasion in February 2022.

“We have to plan for the possibility that the illegal war of aggression will be prolonged,” said Foreign Minister Espen Eide. Norway’s commitment to military support to Ukrainetotaling approximately Nkr 11 billion ($1.21 billion) in 2023, will continue under this program.

Initially responding with donations of weapons and defence-related products, the Norwegian government is now extending its support through direct sales. Eide stressed the importance of supporting Ukraine in the current security situation, which is closely linked to Norwegian and European security. This step, according to Eide, is a response to the possible prolongation of the conflict.

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Defense Minister Bjørn Gram emphasized that this policy change aligns with Norway’s fundamental political defense and security interests and the role of the defense industry in the current security policy framework. “This change means we are protecting the fundamental civil defense and security interests for Norway together with our allies,” Gram said.

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The process for direct sales involves Norwegian companies applying to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for an export permit. Evaluation criteria include sales exclusively to Ukrainian authorities, end-use and end-user documentation, secure transport routes and compliance with Norwegian export control regulations and international law, including the UN Arms Trade Treaty.

The current decision to allow direct sales to Ukraine is specific to the unique security situation and does not indicate a broader change in Norway’s stance on arms sales to countries in conflict, and therefore Norway’s arms export policy remains largely unchanged.

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