Moscow | The Russian Foreign Minister said, on Monday, that the Arctic is a region of influence for Russia and defended its right to defend its coast, warning the West of its ambitions in the region just days before the convening of a major regional forum.
We see criticism that Russia is expanding its military activity in the Arctic. Sergey Lavrov said during the speech: “But it was clear to everyone for a long time that this is our land, our lands, we respond to the security of our coast and everything we do there is completely legal and legitimate.” .
He said: “When NATO tries to justify its attack in the Arctic, the situation is not the same and we have questions for our neighbors, such as Norway, who are trying to justify the advent of the alliance to the North Pole.”
These statements come two days before the start of the meeting of the Arctic Council, a growing source of economic and geopolitical greed, bringing together Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Iceland.
The head of US diplomacy, Anthony Blinken, is scheduled to meet there for the first time, Sergey Lavrov, ahead of a possible summit between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in June.
With regard to the Arctic, Mr. Lavrov called for the resumption of periodic meetings between the chiefs of staff of the member states of the Council in order to “reduce the risks at the military level.”
Russia has continued to increase its military presence in the Arctic regions in recent years, reopening and modernizing many of the bases and airports abandoned since the end of the Soviet era. It also deployed the latest S-400 air defense system there.
Russian interests conflict with those of its regional neighbors, including the United States, which this year sent strategic bombers for training in Norway and deployed ships last year in the Barents Sea, in the exclusive economic zone of Russia.
President Vladimir Putin has also made the economic exploitation of the Arctic a strategic priority, notably by creating a sea corridor along the coasts of the Far North to connect Europe with Asia and compete with the Suez Canal.
This sea route, which has become more practical thanks to global warming and melting ice, is set to play an increasing role in international trade.