Russia is restoring its military presence in Arctic, not expanding it
The strengthening of any country's military forces in the Artic is in most cases not targeted against any of the neighbors, Russian Foreign Ministry charge d'affaires Anton Vasilyev said.
"If we don't take into account strategic nuclear weapons, which are an element of a different, global strategic dimension, it's difficult to speak about any militarization of the Arctic," he said at a meeting of the permanent committee of parliamentarians of the Arctic region held in Murmansk on Thursday.
Vasilyev reiterated that Russia, in turn, is not expanding, but restoring its military presence in the Arctic. "It is significant that the expansion, and in the case of Russia, the restoration of its military presence in the Arctic is going on in a transparent and predictable way and is not aimed against any neighbors, is not destabilizing, and does not cross any red lines," he said.
The diplomat said the strengthening of the military forces is due to the expansion of economic activities in the Arctic and is needed for the protection of the northern borders, ensuring navigation safety, protection of important infrastructure elements, and search and rescue operations.
"There is no reason for the appearance of military political blocs in the Artic, while gradual expansion of military cooperation between the Arctic countries appears very logical," Vasilyev said.