Details of the Russian concern
The Ambassador for Special Missions in the Russian Foreign Ministry, Nikolai Korchunov, who chairs the Committee of Senior Officials of the Arctic Council, told TASS that Moscow was concerned about NATO’s involvement of its members from outside the Arctic region in its military activities there.
He said: “The internationalization of the military activities of the Alliance in the high latitudes and the involvement of NATO countries, which are outside the Arctic there, can only raise our concern, and this may lead to an increase in the risk of unintended accidents that would cause significant damage to the ecosystem of the Arctic region. In addition to the security risks it brings.
A region rich in wealth
Experts believe that this raw region that swims on seas of wealth and natural resources arouses the appetite of competing international powers to direct their compass towards it, and that the Ukrainian crisis has unleashed conflicts of influence and vital areas and back gardens that turn into front lines, and the North Pole is no exception.
Lana Badfan, a researcher and expert in international and European relations at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, told Sky News Arabia: “It is not excluded that the Arctic will turn into a field of fierce competition between NATO and Moscow, due to its enormous natural resources, and become an arena for muscle display and arms races.”
The Arctic has a special strategic importance, as explained by Dafan, following up: “But with the Ukrainian crisis, its importance has increased even more, and it is a very important area to ensure the security of all the parties bordering it, such as the European and Atlantic blocs, as well as Russia, of course, which is a link between North America and Europe, This reveals how sensitive its geopolitical position is.
An important area of NATO
The researcher and expert in international relations adds: “The most prominent reason for NATO’s growing interest in the Arctic today, and the movement on its borders, is due to the growing phenomenon of resource scarcity in various Western countries and the lack of fuel and fuel due to sanctions against Russia, where there are large quantities of natural resources such as gas and oil in the Arctic. But it is located mostly in the Russian part of the Arctic, which seems to prompt NATO to try to crowd out Moscow and friction with it in this cold, hot part of the world.
And she added, “It is not only related to the huge natural resources of gas, oil and minerals, but also to fisheries, shipping routes and trade between Asia and Europe. All of these factors combined make the saliva of various major international powers and raise their interest in the Arctic.”
She explains: “In addition to the phenomenon of climate change and the accompanying partial melting of ice in the Arctic region, the cover revealed the volume of the buried resources in that region and the wide and promising investment opportunities in it, which will undoubtedly become active during the next few years, and thus we will witness more friction and friction. Between the Kremlin and the White House, around this vital region, laden with wealth and resources, and enjoying a vital strategic location of the utmost importance.
Although NATO declares that it does not aim to provoke the Arctic, Badfan believes: “Things are heading there towards mutual escalation between Moscow and the capitals of the West, although Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that Moscow does not view the Arctic as an area of conflict and geopolitical conspiracy, but as an oasis of cooperation.” Building between everyone, but Western policies tend to the opposite in the sense of suspending cooperation with Moscow within the Arctic Council.
And the researcher in international relations adds: “These Atlantic military exercises in Norway near the North Pole, and the noise raised by Washington and its Atlantic allies, is a cover-up for the economic crises and the internal contradictions that are raging within them, especially after the imposition of sanctions on Russia and the negative results it has had on Western countries. Likewise, holding Russia responsible and increasing tension with it.”
Opposition to the alternative body
Moscow says that the decision of Russia’s partners in the Arctic Council, namely the United States, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland and Denmark, to suspend its work against the background of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, leads to an increase in challenges and threats in the field of “soft security” in this region.
She warned the West that any potential attempts to create alternative structures to the Arctic Council would only “draw dividing lines and reinforce contingencies, which would harm the principles of collective cooperation that guided us in decision-making in the Arctic.”
Korchunov expressed his full conviction that Western countries are not able to guarantee the sustainable development of the Arctic region, without Russia, to which about 60 percent of the coastline of the region and more than half of its population return.
He expressed Moscow’s hope for the resumption of the work of the Arctic Council as soon as possible, adding that Russia intends to continue “strengthening its sovereignty in the high latitudes”, but that it “remains open to cooperation with all countries and organizations in the Arctic and beyond, which share the idea of it.” The need to develop this region on a sustainable basis.
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