The Arctic region could become a new zone of “military tensions and competition” between Russia and the United States, according to a report by the US’ Congressional Research Center.
The authors of the document stressed the need to expand the US’ troop presence in the region to “protect their interests.” Over the next few years, the Pentagon plans to increase the number of military personnel trained in Arctic conditions. NATO has recently admitted the backwardness of the alliance’s member countries compared to Russia’s Arctic capacity.
In an interview, the director of the Institute of Modern State Development, Dmitry Solonnikov, highlighted the interests of the United States in the region: “The United States has already stated that it has a great interest in the North Sea Route and that the North Sea Route should not belong only to Russia, but to international use, that is, to be controlled by the United States.”
Indeed, Solonnikov argues, this is a continuation of the claims that Russia illegally possesses mineral resources in the area, and the demands that they be handed over to the international community so that the Arctic territory is open to all countries for the protection of mineral resources, freedom of navigation and commerce.
“This hides strategic objectives backed by certain military capabilities, particularly NATO capabilities on the one hand, and Russia’s on the other. China is also interested in the Arctic region and is trying to participate in the agenda. Moves around the Arctic are increasing daily before our very eyes,” the analyst argued.
Solonnikov believes Russia’s military presence is justifiable because the country must protect its interests. One more drop of tension is added by Greenland’s future, which, if it seeks to secede from Danish rule, would become a sovereign state faced with deciding which bloc to join, which structures to be part of, and which foreign policy to adopt.
“Denmark will lose its way into the Arctic region and claims, but a new country will emerge – a potential ally to different players,” he said.
In other words, the Arctic is increasingly becoming another hotspot on the global geopolitical chessboard for old and new actors.