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The Kremlin has summoned Norway’s ambassador in Moscow after a Norwegian diplomat was reportedly filmed saying she hated Russians.
On Thursday, the ministry said it had taken action because of the “offensive Russophobic comments” allegedly made by Elisabeth Ellingsen, Norway’s consul in Murmansk, a city in northwest Russia.
In a video which appeared on Telegram, the diplomat was shown waiting for a room to be cleaned. “I hate Russians…I used to clean rooms, I’m from Scandinavia,” she is alleged to have said.
The Norwegian foreign ministry said it “deeply regrets” the incident, which has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on social media.
As a result of the diplomatic rift, the Norwegian Consulate General was temporarily closed from 1 July, according to the country’s embassy in Moscow.
The incident comes at a time of enormous tension between European leaders and the Kremlin over Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking on Thursday, Jens Stoltenberg, the head of Nato, described Russia’s war in Ukraine as the “most dangerous situation in Europe since World War Two”.
“It’s in our interest that this type of aggressive policy does not succeed,” the former prime minister of Norway said.
“What happens in Ukraine is terrible but it would be much worse if there was a war between Russia and Nato,” he added.
His speech followed the US senate and the Italian parliament’s decision to back the accession of Finland and Sweden to Nato. Both were prompted to join the alliance over security fears caused by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Their request to become Nato members has now been ratified by 23 of the 30 member states.