After having taken a dip in the Arctic ocean, the powerful politician poured ice water on the already chilly relation with Arctic neighbors.
“Last year, we had the historical reunification of Sevastopol and the Crimea. This year, we present a new view and new powerful stress on the development of the Arctic. Basically, its is all about the same,” Rogozin underlined in an interview with Russian state TV Channel One.
According to the high-ranking government official, Russia is now “starting to get more conscious about territory, its interests and borders”.
The statements came as Rogozin arrived in the drifting Russian polar station “Arctic-2015” after a controversial stop-over at Svalbard. Rogozin is on the EU sanction list against Russia and the Svalbard visit sparked a harsh reaction from the Norwegian side.
“There shall be no doubt that people on the sanctions list, people that have been central in breaching international law in Ukraine, are not welcome to the mainland or to Svalbard,” Norway’s Minister of Foreign Børge Brende told NTB, Dagens Næringsliv reports.
The comparison between the Crimea and the Arctic is highly unpleasant for the neighboring countries in the region, which over the last year have protested loudly against Russian invasion and annexation of Ukrainian land.
Furthermore, it might also sow new uncertainty about Russia’s true ambitions in the region. The country’s leadership have repeatedly stressed that it is not seeking a confrontational line in the Arctic and that it will meet its commitments laid down by international law.
As previously reported, Dmitry Rogozin is leader of Russia’s new Arctic Commission. He is also top responsible for the country’s military-industrial complex.