Brent Scowcroft Center Assistant Director Alex Ward writes for The National Interest on Russia’s attempts to dominate the Arctic:

A common refrain from those with interests in the Arctic, or as some call it, the High North, is “High North, low tension.” It appears that Russia did not get the memo. Recently, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who leads Moscow’s commission overseeing Arctic projects from 2015-2020, and has been sanctioned by the European Union, United States, and Norway,arrived unannounced in the Norwegian island of Svalbard in the Arctic Circle. Russia’s planes have also almost collided with commercial airliners in the skies above Sweden and Denmark and it has increased warplane flights off of the coast of Norway. Russia is also modernizing its equipment to deal with its share of the Arctic—about half—including the development of Arctic rescue robots. Russia, for worse, is starting to dictate the course of events in the Arctic.

If Russia sees the Arctic as a linchpin of its future power, other Arctic littoral nations do not. Former U.S. Ambassador to Norway Barry White said that “the United States government doesn’t believe that we are in the middle of a race to the Arctic.” Norway, whose Arctic waters and airspace see eighty percent of all regional activity and increased actions from Russia, claim that its main priority areas are international cooperation, economics, and the environment over hard security. Denmark’s says its “approach to security policy in the Arctic is based on an overall goal of preventing conflicts and avoiding the militarization of the Arctic.” Finland wants to “reconcile the limitations imposed and business opportunities provided by the Arctic environment in a sustainable manner while drawing upon international cooperation.”

Read the full article here.