From the New York Times: The Canadian armed forces chief of staff, Gen. Walter Natynczyk, also tried to be reassuring, saying, “There is no conventional military threat to the Arctic,” while at the same time suggesting the area was such a difficult place that only the military had sufficient capabilities to operate in some circumstances.

Which leaves the Russians, who seem more in a rush than the Atlantic Alliance players to create their own kind of Arctic facts.

They have experience in the region, but hardly a resounding record as great stewards of the environment. Their claim to half of the Arctic as their own was described in Halifax as “extravagant” by a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, Kurt Volker.

In 2007, they planted a Russian flag under the North Pole. This year, Moscow’s National Security Council announced that the Arctic would become its “main resource base” by 2020, and plans for troops “capable of ensuring military security in the region.” In October, a Russian admiral said that helicopter carriers the Russian Navy hopes to buy from France were earmarked, in part, for its Arctic fleet. (photo: the Telegraph)