Red turn: Saying yes to Norwegian arms support to Ukraine

HAVE A MAJORITY: Rødt leader Bjørnar Moxnes during the national meeting in Stavanger.

STAVANGER (VG) Rødt’s leadership succeeded in convincing its own national assembly that Norway should support Ukraine with arms. Former co-leader Marielle Leraand quit the party after a complete turnaround.


Last year, Rødt’s national government categorically rejected the supply of Norwegian arms to Ukraine. When debate began in the party this winter, it became clear that six of the party’s eight parliamentary representatives had applied for Norwegian arms support to Ukraine.

And weeks before the national meeting, Rødt leader Bjørnar Moxnes also argued that Norway should donate weapons to the Ukrainian uprising against the Russian occupiers.

Moxnes has a few thoughts on why the statement won the majority:

– Turnover comes from the grassroots, re-elected leader Rødt told VG.

– The course of the war in Ukraine and thorough party discussions in local teams have concluded that Ukraine is completely dependent on arms aid, also from Norway. And the typically Norwegian argument we had a year ago no longer holds up, he added.

Moxnes doesn’t believe the party will split after the decision.

– But I do not hide the fact that I would be disappointed if it were the other way around, he said.

Rødt’s former co-leader, Marielle Leraand, was among those who clearly opposed the arms shipment.

He said to Aftenposten that he will now opt out.

– The decision involved NATO’s direct war support in Ukraine. Red is thus no longer a leftist party, and no longer a leftist party that has to feel at home.

Work for lasting peace

Joakim Møllersen, who is one of the strongest voices in Rødt against Norway’s arms support, remains confident that minorities will not leave empty-handed from the national meeting in Stavanger:

– Merah still has to work as quickly as possible for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine, in accordance with the UN Charter and the resolution of the UN General Assembly on 23 February this year, Møllersen wrote in a text message to VG.

The debate was fierce at the national assembly, and the harsh words had fallen from the pulpit. Among other things, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has been characterized as a “war criminal”. This elicited a backlash, including from city council leader Raymond Johansen (Ap) in Oslo.

TOUGH: Siavash Mobasheri (th) from Oslo Rødt doesn’t hold back on Jens Stoltenberg’s characterization. Here with party partner Sofia Rana during Rødt’s national gathering in Stavanger

By reservation

In the opinion that received the most votes it was stated that:

“Without the support of arms, Ukraine will be controlled and targeted by the chauvinistic right-wing nationalist Russian regime with purported imperialist ambitions. That is why it was appropriate to provide arms support to Ukraine in the struggle for independence and peace, when Ukraine asked for it. These weapons may not be used outside Ukraine.”

The statement was adopted by 107 to 74 votes.

At the last minute, Rødt’s leadership issued another warning: Rødt maintained his opposition to providing the tanks to Ukraine.

But the government, with the support of the Storting, this winter donated several Leopard tanks of the Norwegian Armed Forces to Ukraine.

Red also marked opposition to the delivery of the warplanes, and stated that the weapons should not be provided through NATO but in conjunction with other countries.

It took 14 months

– I want to say welcome to Rødt, said Åsmund Aukrust. AP foreign policy spokesperson in a statement to VG.

– For the remainder of the Storting, it took four days before the war to decide on sending weapons, for Rødt it took 14 months. I think all Ukrainians are happy that the rest of the world doesn’t spend so much time on internal seminars. Had the West not supplied Ukraine with arms, Ukraine would have lost its freedom long ago, said Aukrust.

Venstre leader Guri Melby said he too wished Rødt had made this decision 14 months ago.

– But I am proud that now we can say that the united Norwegian Storting supports Ukraine’s struggle against Russia’s war of aggression. The history books will say that the war against Ukraine is a new age for the world, he wrote in an email to VG.

Watch the video – a Russian warplane accidentally bombs its own city:


Lance Heptinstall

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