Moscow warns West ahead of Arctic meeting

The Arctic, whose immense resources are increasingly accessible under the effect of climate change, has become an area of ​​growing geopolitical tensions, in particular between Moscow and Washington, allied to the Scandinavian countries.

AFP - JONATHAN NACKSTRAND

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Russia hammered on Monday that the Arctic was its area of ​​influence and defended its right to defend it, warning the West against its ambitions in the area just days away from a major regional forum.

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“ 

We see criticism that Russia is expanding its military activity in the Arctic.

But it has been clear to everyone for a long time that this is our land, our territory, we answer for the security of our coastline and everything we do there is perfectly legal and legitimate, 

”said the head of diplomacy. Russian Sergey Lavrov at a press conference.

When NATO tries to justify its offensive in the Arctic, it's not the same thing and we have questions for our neighbors, like Norway, who are trying to justify the Alliance's coming to the Arctic 

", he continued.

The Arctic, whose immense resources are increasingly accessible under the effect of climate change, has become an area of ​​growing geopolitical tensions, in particular between Moscow and Washington, allied to the Scandinavian countries.

The two camps have stepped up military maneuvers there in recent months, the United States sending bombers to Norway via NATO while Moscow has carried out major maritime and air exercises there.

First meeting between Blinken and Lavrov

Sergey Lavrov's statements come two days before an Arctic Council meeting in Reykjavik, bringing together since 1996 Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Iceland. The head of the diplomacy of the United States, Antony Blinken is to meet there for the first time Sergei Lavrov, before a possible summit between Joe Biden and Vladimir Poutine in June, while relations between the two countries are deleterious.

Prior to that, Antony Blinken welcomed on Monday during a visit to Denmark an investment plan for Copenhagen, valued at 200 million euros and intended to strengthen military surveillance in Greenland and the North Atlantic.

The state secret indeed welcomed a military investment allowing " 

to have the capabilities in place thanks to technology to know who does what, where and when (...) and we appreciate the role played by Denmark to help with that 

”.

In this context, Sergey Lavrov advocated the relaunch of regular meetings between the chiefs of staff of the member countries of the Council in order to " 

reduce the risks on the military level

 ".

Meetings suspended since 2014.

(with AFP)

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