MOSCOW, August 29. /TASS/. Russia considers NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s words on the necessity of NATO’s expanded presence in the Arctic as its intention to confront it in this region, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.
"We interpret such statements as an intention to confront Russia and Russia’s interests in the Arctic. Russia will safeguard its interests in an appropriate way," he said.
For Russia, the Arctic is "a zone of economic activities, activities toward ensuring Russia’s security," he stressed. "It is a sphere of our vital interests."
According to Peskov, Russia’s cooperation with other countries, including China, in the Arctic region is geared "solely toward further development of the Arctic zone and is not and cannot be a threat to any other country or alliance."
Last week, Stoltenberg said that NATO needs a strong presence in the Arctic. In his words, Russia’s possibilities in the Arctic are a strategic challenge to NATO.