“Higher attention from the Arctic Council member states towards the military factor in the Arctic should not be considered as militarization,” Russia’s Ambassador at Large and representative at the Arctic Council Anton Vasiliev said in an interview with ITAR-TASS. “It is implementation of national sovereignties of the countries, which share responsible approaches to the region’s security”, he explained.
“The demand for further improvement of military cooperation among the Arctic countries is evident,” the ambassador said in an interview with ITAR-TASS. “What forms it will have will depend on practical agreements.” Everything is done transparently, logically, and is not aimed against any neighbours, is not of a destabilizing character and does not cross any ‘red lines’.
The Russian military build-up that we have seen the last couple of years is only based on Russia’s concern with defending its own vast northern regions, which are becoming more vulnerable due to climate change, the ambassador explained. Vasiliev said Russia once had a naturally secure border of 20,000 kilometers of frozen ice, but that is literally melting away as temperatures rise in the Arctic.
“Now the climate is getting milder, the ice is retreating and we simply need to protect our borders from illegal border crossing, illegal emigration, organized crime and terrorism”, Vasiliev said. Economic activity in the Arctic Russia is on the rise, and Russia sees an obligation in securing navigation on the Northern Sea Route and having reliable search & rescue powers in the area. “It is complicated to do this without help from the military”.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.
Sports in the Barents region have joined forces and established Barents Games. This weekend athletes from all over the region met in Oulu to compete in 14 differents sports during the Barents Summer Games. See our slide show from the competitions.
People participating in culture-, sport and Barents cooperation projects can from October apply for visa to Norway without paying a single ruble, says Marit Egholm Jacobsen with the Norwegian Consulate General in Murmansk.