Sweden, Finland not showing much Arctic activity yet - Russian presidential envoy Ivanov
MOSCOW. Aug 30 (Interfax) - The new NATO member candidates, Sweden and Finland, have not been very active in the Artic at this stage, Russia's Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport Sergei Ivanov said.
"With regard to NATO: no such direct manifestation of increased activity has yet been seen from the new candidates for NATO membership: Sweden and Finland," Ivanov said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 (VGTRK) television channel.
Among the Arctic Council's eight members, Russia accounts for 55% of the region, which means that "even in some fantastically unfavorable scenario more than half the Artic shelf is Russia's, I am not talking about the coastline, that goes without saying," Ivanov said.
He disagreed with the view that some countries' joining NATO was due to Arctic territorial claims. "I would not say so unequivocally, I know this topic well. Currently Russia is not just a member of the Arctic Council, but has been Chairman of the Artic Council for two years," Ivanov said.
Many nations, including China and India, would like to be Observers in the Arctic Council or in some way participate in the objective Arctic exploration processes, he said. "For them, it matters too, the Northern Sea Route is very important for Asian states," Ivanov said.