MOSCOW, April 24. /TASS/. The development of London’s defense strategy in the Arctic region gives rise to concern and calls for the regional countries’ assessment, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Ambassador-at-Large and Russia’s envoy to the Arctic Council Nikolai Korchunov told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday.
"We cannot fail to be concerned about the internationalization of military activities in the region. The Arctic defense strategy announced by Britain in the autumn of 2018 is an example to this effect," the diplomat noted.
According to Korchunov, such plan was approved by a non-Arctic country for the first time. "This is an alarming step, which leads to mounting tensions and requires fundamental assessment of our Arctic partners," he stressed.
The diplomat pointed out that Moscow could not ignore the fact that NATO is building up its military presence in the region. "Last year, we witnessed NATO’s largest military exercise over the past 20 years, whose scenario implied a totally fake Russian threat. We do not view this region as a theater of military operations or zero-sum geopolitical games. We do believe, however, that dialogue and contacts between the Arctic countries’ military are useful," he went on to say.
"Russia is promoting and offering its partners a long-term agenda of cooperation in the Arctic. The multibillion funds we invest in the region’s development are the evidence of our commitment to constructive cooperation and joint mutually beneficial activities in the Arctic," Korchunov concluded.