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NATO 'ill-prepared' for Arctic confrontation with Russia, expert says

It is reported that countries such as Norway and Denmark have limited defense budgets but major responsibilities

WASHINGTON, April 2. /TASS/. The North Atlantic Alliance is ill-prepared for confrontation with Russia in the Arctic, Liselotte Odgaard, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Hudson Institute (designated as an undesirable organization in Russia), said in an article for the Foreign Policy magazine.

"Even as its members take part in Steadfast Defender 2024, NATO’s largest military exercise since the Cold War, it is clear that the alliance remains ill-prepared against Russia’s military capabilities in the Arctic," she noted. The expert particularly pointed out that "no NATO member state has ice-strengthened ships with both anti-aircraft and anti-submarine capabilities."

"Russia’s nuclear submarines, which are capable of launching an attack on North America, can travel from the Barents Sea <...> between Scandinavia and Svalbard, Norway, and under the ice along the coast of eastern Greenland without being detected. This leaves big gaps in NATO’s defense posture," Odgaard said.

In addition, "countries such as Norway and Denmark have limited defense budgets but major responsibilities." "NATO has focused on pushing member states to spend two percent of GDP on defense, and investments in capabilities such as ice-strengthened navy vessels do not count as contributions to NATO’s minimum force requirements," the expert emphasized.

Odgaard highlighted the need for NATO countries to "come to an agreement on an Arctic strategy," as well as to "revisit and update its minimum force requirements." "Although Finnish and Swedish membership has seemingly enhanced NATO’s Arctic posture, the alliance still has a long way to go in the region," she concluded.