Russia gives NATO cold shoulder on Arctic militarization

The Arctic may hold up to a quarter of the Earth

From Russia Today:  As the race to lay claim to the Arctic region and its huge oil reserves heats up, Russia tells the Western military bloc that its presence is not required.

With Prime Minister Vladimir Putin expected to take part in an international forum devoted to the subject of Arctic transport routes, Russian special envoy Anton Vasilyev says that there are no problems in the Arctic to which a military presence would be a solution.

"Problems do exist in the Arctic, but we have no questions there which would require military force. We do not need the presence of military-political blocs in the Arctic," the diplomat said in an interview with Interfax. . . . 

While agreeing that the Arctic states – comprised of Canada, Denmark (by way of Greenland), Norway, Russia and the United States – have been paying more attention to their military presence in the region, Vasilyev said the military build-up is not large-scale and should not cause alarm.

"It is a logical and natural occurrence, in my opinion. It is of limited scope and is not a factor of instability, or a symptom of an arms race. We are talking about conventional armaments in the Arctic," the diplomat told Interfax.

It should be noted that all of the Arctic countries except Russia are NATO members.

Meanwhile, Vasilyev emphasized that the Arctic must be declared a nuclear-free zone, but then went on to say that NATO’s nuclear doctrine could present certain difficulties.

"In principle, we support the idea of a nuclear-free zone,” the special envoy said. "It is one of the most important instruments for spreading the regime of nonproliferation of nuclear weapons in the world."  

Vasilyev, raising the question of the Arctic’s non-military stature, went on to ask how Russia should respond to a situation when the other Arctic states, as full-fledged NATO members, are bound to comply with the military bloc’s nuclear doctrine.

"How can this idea be organized, specifically in the Arctic, where, alongside Russia, NATO countries are present and each of them is bound by NATO’s nuclear doctrine? This is a big issue," he said.  (photo: French Ministry of Defense)

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