On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov identified the Arctic region as a region of Russian interest and warned the West about ambitions in the region. He did so a few days before the Arctic Council meeting, where he would speak, among other things, to the head of US diplomacy, Anthony Blinken. It is currently on the “Arctic Route” to Denmark, Greenland and Iceland.
Lavrov has responded to Norway’s request from NATO to focus more on the Arctic, as he intends to speak openly at the Arctic Council. According to its foreign minister, Moscow records “mourning” over the development of Russia’s military activities in the Arctic. “Everyone has known for a long time that this is our land, our country,” the prime minister said.
According to him, Russia is keen that the Arctic coast is safe. Lavrov described everything that Moscow had done as completely legal and legitimate. Meanwhile, he called for renewed dialogue between the chiefs of staff of the eight member states of the Arctic Council.
“If anyone wants more predictability and less military risks, I suggest returning to our long-standing proposal to restart the rotating mechanism of the Arctic Chiefs of Staff,” Lavrov said. According to the minister, this mechanism worked. But in 2014, the Western partners decided to freeze it after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and supported the pro-Russian separatists’ uprising in eastern Ukraine.
The Russian army, for the first time, provided foreign journalists with its “three-lobed Arctic” military base on the Franz Joseph archipelago, TASS reported on Tuesday. The commander of Russian forces in the north, Major General Igor Churkin, said that Russia has been building military infrastructure in remote islands and the Arctic coast since 2014.