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Lavrov to attend celebrations of 70th liberation anniversary in Norway

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is to attend the celebrations in Norway's Kirkenes on Saturday marking the 70th anniversary of WWII liberation from the Nazi occupation.

During the visit, Lavrov is due to meet with his Norwegian counterpart Borge Brende to discuss bilateral ties and the prospects of the trade and economic cooperation amid Oslo's sanctions against Russia and Moscow's retaliatory measures.

The Russian foreign minister is scheduled to participate in the events commemorating Norwegian fighters against Nazism and the Soviet troops who liberated the country in late 1944.

Lavrov is due to lay a wreath at the monument erected in honor of Soviet's Red Army and meet with Russian and Norwegian veterans who participated in the operation.

The celebrations, to be attended by King Harald V of Norway and Prime Minister Erna Solberg, stress "the sincerity of feelings of Russians and Norwegians over the event, the inviolability of this element of historic memory for strengthening good-neighborly relations, which are not subjected to the influence of political environment," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said Russia's embargo covers a range of foods from Norway, including fish, warning that bilateral trade and investment will be inevitably affected if the sides continue following this way.

The relations between Russia and the West deteriorated amid the Ukrainian crisis. In late July, the European Union and the United States switched from targeted sanctions, such as visa bans and asset freezes, against individuals and companies to penalties against the whole sectors of the Russian economy.

In response, in early August Russia imposed a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the EU, the United States and Norway.

[Source: Itar Tass, Kirkenes, Fin, 25Oct14]

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