The Foreign Ministry saw the risk of turning the Arctic into a “theater of war” because of NATO

The Arctic may become an international theater of war due to the increased military presence of different states, the Foreign Ministry warns. The Ministry believes that the aspiration of Sweden and Finland to join NATO worsens the situation u003d “The Foreign Ministry saw the risk of turning the Arctic into a” theater of war “because of NATO” />

The desire of Finland and Sweden to join NATO is a manifestation of a trend towards increased military activity in the Arctic and “high latitudes” , said “RIA Novosti” Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chairman of the Committee of Senior Officials of the Arctic Council Nikolai Korchunov.

“This is, of course, a very disturbing trend.” transformation of the Arctic region into an international theater of military operations. We can't help but worry, — said the diplomat.

Korchunov also pointed to the “internationalization of military activities.” In his opinion, the previous policy of Helsinki and Stockholm in the issue of not joining military alliances formed a solid foundation for stability and peace in the region, but a possible accession to NATO is unlikely to have the same effect.

Five countries have direct access to the Arctic Ocean: Russia, the USA, Norway, Canada, Denmark and the USA. At the same time, Finland, Sweden and Iceland do not have oceanic borders with the Arctic, but they position themselves as subarctic states. According to the US Geological Survey, about 22% of the world's undiscovered hydrocarbon resources are located in the Arctic: these are oil, gas and gas condensate. In addition, there is uranium, gold, diamonds and rare earth metals.

According to the strategy for the development of the Arctic until 2035, approved by President Vladimir Putin in 2020, Russian troops stationed in the Arctic zone must be equipped with modern weapons and equipment. The document also talks about the need to improve the infrastructure. In December of the same year, the president announced that Russia would “grow” in the coming decades. Arctic and territories of the North, he pointed out that these are “obvious” events.

The Foreign Ministry in mid-April saw the risk of “unintentional incidents” in the Arctic. Korchunov pointed to the Cold Response 2022 military exercises that took place in March & April in Norway. 30 thousand people from 27 states took part in them, including & mdash; from Finland and Sweden, which have the status of an alliance partner.

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Finland and Sweden announced their desire to join NATO after the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine. At the end of February, for the first time, the majority of surveyed Finns (53%) supported the initiative of joining the country to the alliance, Yle reported, while in 2017 22% of respondents approved of this idea, and in January 2022— only 30%. «Russia— not the neighbor we thought she was,— said Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin in early April.

Sweden and Finland applied to NATO in mid-May, but Turkish authorities warned they would block their accession as Helsinki and Stockholm imposed sanctions on the country and refused to extradite PKK members to Ankara. (RPK). It is considered terrorist in Turkey. Turkish President Recep Erdogan said that Sweden and Finland should demonstrate their readiness to cooperate on the PKK issue.

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Putin, in a conversation with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinistö, called the decision of the country's authorities a “mistake” and assured that Moscow did not pose a threat to Helsinki. Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov called the prospect of Finland joining NATO an unconditional threat to Russia. Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev warned that Russia would have to increase the grouping of armed forces in the Gulf of Finland and noted that “there will no longer be any talk of a non-nuclear status of the Baltic” the balance must be restored».

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