Manage episode 377586880 series 1301291
Kirkenes, in the far north-east of Norway, once thrived on its close ties with neighbouring Russia. All that changed after the invasion of Ukraine. Now it’s become home to Ukrainian refugees and a safe haven for some Russian journalists escaping President Putin’s media clampdown. For decades this area popularised the phrase “High North, Low Tension.” Close economic and cultural ties developed with brisk cross-border trade. Hundreds of Russians settled in the town. But now new cross-border restrictions have been imposed and co-operation has ended. The local economy has taken a significant hit and cross-border cultural groups no longer meet. However, despite this being a NATO member, the Norwegian government is keeping the border open. Russian fishing vessels still unload their catch in Kirkenes but are no longer allowed to undergo repairs. The Norwegians have stepped up checks on these Russian boats amid concern of a rise in Russian spying and potential sabotage. For Crossing Continents John Murphy travels to Norway’s Arctic to see how war has changed the town and to ask what’s next for this unique community.
Producer: Alex Last Sound mix: Graham Puddifoot Production coordinator: Gemma Ashman Series editor: Penny Murphy