Russia opposes presence of military blocs in Arctic – diplomat
Russia stands against the use of force and the presence of military blocs in the Arctic, a senior Russian diplomat said on Wednesday.
"We do not see problems [in the Arctic] that could lead to the use of force, and we do not see the need to place military-political blocs there," said Anton Vasilyev, ambassador-at-large on Arctic issues at the Russian Foreign Ministry.
"We have an efficient international treaty framework to resolve any potential conflicts [in the region]," Vasilyev said on the eve of The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue international forum.
The idea of a "mini-NATO" in the Arctic region was a subject discussed at a summit of Northern European countries in London on January 19-20, 2011. The name refers to a proposed military bloc of Scandinavian countries, ex-Soviet Baltic republics and the United Kingdom, which many describe as the "response to Russian efforts in the north."
"So far this idea has not been followed by any practical development, but we are keeping an eye on the situation," the Russian diplomat said.
Russia and other countries with an Arctic coastline all lay claims to the region's seabed, said to contain one-quarter of the world's mineral resources. The untapped riches are becoming more accessible due to melting ice.
The second Arctic dialogue forum will be held in the city of Arkhangelsk in northern Russia on September 22-24.