28 Mar 2019 14:26

Moscow blames U.S., UK for growing military-political tensions in Arctic

MURMANSK. March 28 (Interfax) - Russian Representative to the Arctic Council Nikolai Korchunov has called for reducing military-political tensions in the Arctic.

Non-Arctic states are demonstrating an increased interest in the region; "these states are practically knocking on the Arctic's door," Korchunov said at a meeting of the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region in Murmansk on Thursday.

"Russia remains open to various forms of constructive cooperation with all interested non-Arctic states. We are interested in their harmonious involvement in the Arctic's activity [...] which should not bring any aspects of military standoff or confrontation to the region," he said.

The national strategies of China, South Korea, and Japan express "their commitment to operating within the Arctic cooperation mechanism on the principles of sustainable development, collective approach, interaction, and the search for answers to challenges emerging in the region," Korchunov said.

The United States and the United Kingdom have the opposite stance, Korchunov said. According to him, the Arctic strategy of the United Kingdom "leads to an exacerbation of the military-political situation at high latitudes and the militarization of the Arctic."

"We are also closely following remarks by U.S. politicians. Unfortunately, they are not too adherent to strengthening the collective approach and an atmosphere of cooperation. Instead of suggesting cooperation, their statements express suspicion, unfounded alarmism, national isolation, a vision of the Arctic through the lens of geopolitics and as a prospective theater of operations," he said.

In order to deescalate tensions, Russia suggests that a dialogue between military commanders of the Artic countries, which was being developed before 2014, be reinstated.

"We are confident that every international legal instrument is available to preserve the Arctic as a territory of successful development, multifaceted cooperation, and low military-political tension," Korchunov said.