Norway PM: Oil Profits to Fund Ukraine 02/02 06:03
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) -- Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store of Norway said
Thursday that the oil-rich Scandinavian country will become one of the world's
top donors to Ukraine when his two-party center-left government presents
another planned military and civilian aid package.
Norway's profits from oil will finance the additional aid, and there will be
a temporary increase in the use of oil money, Gahr Store told the Norwegian
parliament. He did not reveal how large the contribution will be, but he said
the government would make it soon.
"We are in a situation where we have room for action due to extraordinary
income from the petroleum sector," said the prime minister, who leads Norway's
Labor Party. He said the aid would be arranged in a way that has very little
impact on the level of activity in the Norwegian economy.
Norway is one of Europe's largest fossil-fuel exporters, and the conflict in
Ukraine has boosted its gas revenues. However, Norway has fended off
accusations that it's profiting from the war in Ukraine. Last year, the country
gave Ukraine more 10 billion kroner ($1 billion) in civilian and military aid.
"We are now stepping up this aid. We will contribute even more to the repair
and reconstruction of damaged infrastructure," Gahr Store said.
After Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops to invade Ukraine on Feb.
24, 2022, a frantic search by European countries for alternatives to Russian
energy dramatically increased the demand -- and price -- for Norway's oil and
Gahr Store stressed the increased aid to Ukraine "should not, I repeat
should not, be about bringing more oil money into the Norwegian economy."
"The war will very likely last for a long time, and there is a risk that the
human suffering will get even worse," he said, noting several times that
Russia's war in Ukraine is about to enter its second year.
Lawmakers from the 10 parties in the 169-seat Stortinget plan to meet Monday
to discuss aid to Ukraine. Rigmor Aasrud of Gahr Store's Labor Party said she
hoped a large majority would back the government's plan. Norway's governing
coalition also includes the Center Party.