Norway's prime minister and opposition leader on Wednesday condemned a decision by the country's fifth-largest city to take in only Ukrainian refugees.

City councillors in Drammen, a city of 120,000 people 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Oslo, voted in favour of the measure at a meeting late Tuesday.

The council's ruling majority comprises Conservatives, the anti-immigration populist right, the Christian Democrats and a small party representing pensioners.

Their decision defied warnings issued by the centre-left government.

On Wednesday, Labour Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said the decision was not legal.

"This is not something municipalities can do," he told public broadcaster NRK. "A fundamental value is to ensure that people who are fleeing are treated equally."

Erna Solberg, leader of the opposition Conservative party to which the mayor of Drammen also belongs, echoed his remarks.

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"No municipality can decide that it will only accept refugees from a certain country" even if it was "not unusual" to have preferences, news agency NTB quoted her as saying.

If the decision is not withdrawn, the issue could land on the table of the governor of the country.

A member of the Centre Party has also filed a police complaint against the city council, accusing it of "institutional racism."

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Comments ( 1)

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John
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As it should be in all Ukraine allied countries!

Ukraine has done way beyond its share in de-risking the russian threat certainly at least to all EU countries. It's innocents and infirm are in need of shelter. Ukraine's citizens have earned priority processing. Sorry everyone else. If some objectors don't like it, then help Ukraine evict the russians from their territory and end this war faster.

If some refugees are that desperate, then redirect them to shelter in the nations not supporting Ukraine. Or perhaps even Ukraine will allow some able bodied refugees in; if useful and willing to provide immediate support to that nations' survival needs.

Right now Ukrainians not able to directly support their nations existential fight need refuge elsewhere. They get priority processing.. For all allied nations this is just one more way we can pragmatically protect our own countries. By simultaneously deburdening Ukraine of some of the social impacts of Russia's invasion, we thus help Ukraine freeing up its limited resources for its defence..

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