Tuesday, April 9

NATO will increase its presence in the Arctic in response to Russian expansion


One of the largest US warships arrives in Lithuania on a NATO mission. / EFE

“Moscow is in the process of reopening Soviet-era bases and deploying and testing new state-of-the-art navies there, such as hypersonic missiles,” warns Jens Stoltenberg.

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Both NATO and the United States government have indicated this week that they will increase their presence in the Arctic, as a result of the increase in Russian military activity in the north of their territories. NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg has stated in an interview for the German newspaper ‘Welt am Sonntag’ that the Atlantic Alliance “must increase its presence in the Arctic, because Russia is expanding its influence in that area. “We are already investing in marine explorers to get a clear picture of what is happening in the far north, but we will continue to intensify our efforts,” Stoltenberg bets.

The also former Norwegian prime minister has highlighted concerns that both Russia and China are showing interest in the resource-rich region. “Moscow is in the process of reopening bases from the Soviet era and deploying and testing new, state-of-the-art weapons there, such as hypersonic missiles,” explained the NATO chief, after having traveled to the Canadian part of the Arctic with the Prime Minister. of Canada, Justin Trudeau.

Thus, he pointed out that China is increasingly interested in the region due to its “great strategic importance”, above all, as the ice melts, because new trade routes are opened, in order to build a “polar silk route”. ». “It is the crucial connection between North America and Europe. The Arctic is also the shortest distance between North America and Russia,” she explained.

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On Friday, after Stoltenberg’s visit to the Canadian Arctic territories, the NATO secretary general warned that the increased Russian presence in the region constitutes “a strategic challenge for the entire Alliance.” “Russia has established a new Arctic Command. She has opened hundreds of new and old Soviet-era Arctic military sites, including airfields and deep-water ports. Russia is also using the region as a testbed for many of its new weapons systems,” Stoltenberg said.

For his part, Trudeau explained that the change in his country’s attitude regarding NATO’s participation in the Arctic is due to the drift of the geopolitical situation in recent months. “Understanding that Russia is a growing concern for all of us makes it timely that we share with the Secretary General and NATO all that Canada is doing through NORAD,” he said.

American special ambassador

For its part, the US State Department announced on Friday that it would appoint, if the Senate approves the measure, a special ambassador for the Arctic region, for the first time, whose objective would be “to promote US interests and cooperation with the allies and partners in the Arctic”, as explained by the deputy spokesman for the Office of Global Public Affairs, Vedant Patel.

“You will engage with your counterparts in Arctic and non-Arctic nations, as well as with indigenous groups, and work closely with national stakeholders, including state, local, and tribal governments; businesses, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, other federal government agencies, and Congress,” Patel said.

The United States has insisted that the region must be “peaceful, stable, prosperous and cooperative”, after considering that it has a “critical strategic importance for the North American country”.


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