MOSCOW, April 9. /TASS/. Moscow is concerned about the desire of NATO countries to militarize the Arctic, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Friday, commenting on US concerns about Russia’s growing activities in the region.
"As for the possible sources of tensions in the region, the military activities of the United States and its allies in the Arctic, as well as bellicose rhetoric, should be viewed as such. It is NATO and NATO countries, including non-Arctic nations, that stage provocations there with increasing regularity… The desire to militarize the Arctic and use the region when implementing a policy aimed at containing Russia causes us legitimate concern," she pointed out.
According to Zakharova, Russia was not informed of Norway’s concerns about possible environmental damage from the testing of new Russian weapons in the Arctic. She added that if there was an official request from Norway, Russia would be ready "to use the existing communication channels between the defense ministries to provide clarifications on the matter."
The diplomat emphasized that Russia’s activities were in line with international law and posed no threat to other countries. According to her, the US and its allies, by contrast, are raising tensions in the region. "Such a policy cannot contribute to maintaining the atmosphere of trust and cooperation between Arctic nations," Zakharova stressed.
US Department of Defense Spokesperson John Kirby said on April 5 that the Pentagon was closely monitoring Russia’s activities in the Arctic because the region "is a potential corridor - between the Indo-Pacific and Europe and the US homeland - for expanded strategic competitions." He added that "nobody's interested in seeing the Arctic become militarized.".