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Arctic development guarantees Russia’s independence down the road, defense chief says

September 01, 14:05 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Arctic has vast reserves of natural resources and the Northern Sea Route has enormous economic importance

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MOSCOW, September 1. /TASS/. Development of Arctic territories is a guarantee of Russia’s independence in future, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

On Friday, the first day of a new academic year, Shoigu arrived at a Russian defense ministry’s boarding school for girls to congratulate them on the Day of Knowledge. After the ceremony, he took part in debates on topics of Arctic exploration. The girls broke into two teams, with one advocating the need to begin Arctic development the soonest possible while the other one agreeing it is not yet time for that.

Advocates of the idea stressed that the Arctic has vast reserves of natural resources and the Northern Sea Route has enormous economic importance. They said the Arctic development will help improve living standards for the indigenous peoples of the North and promote international cooperation. Apart from that, the Arctic plays a serious role in ensuring Russia’s security.

The other team argued that due to environmental problems there is no need to rush to do that right now. Moreover, they voiced doubt that development of Arctic territories could be beneficial for the indigenous peoples. On top of that, they said, it might only aggravate political confrontation in the Arctic.

The line under the debate was drawn by the defense minister. "Development of the Arctic today is a guarantee on Russia’s independence tomorrow," he said.

Along with Shoigu, the ceremony was attended by Deputy Defense Minister Tatiana Shevtsova, who is in charges of the boarding school, First Deputy Finance Minister Tatiana Nesterenko, who is the chairperson of the school’s board of trustees, musicians Igor Butman and Sergei Mazayev, and executive director of manned space programs of Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos, Sergei Krikalev.

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