Russia issues warning over Arctic Council

Lazy eyes listen


Russia has threatened to withdraw from the Arctic Council if Western member states discriminate against it, according to the country’s Foreign Ministry. The group’s significance and efficacy have recently reduced, according to Nikolay Korchunov, ambassador-at-large and Moscow’s top representative in the organization, due to the Western countries’ actions.

Korchunov stated in an interview with Russia’s TASS news agency published on Sunday that if Norway, which assumed the Council’s chair on Thursday, chooses not to invite Russia to participate in its activities, this would be a breach of Russia’s rights.

“In this case, our country’s continued participation in the activities of this organization will be difficult,” the diplomat explained.

Following Russia’s military assault against Ukraine in February, the other members of the intergovernmental group, which includes Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, and the United States, effectively cut off contact with Moscow and halted over a hundred collaborative projects.

Korchunov warned in his interview that Western countries’ rising fixation on conflict and pursuing their own interests at the expense of other Arctic states’ interests could lead to escalation.

He noted NATO’s “expansion” in the region, which has recently seen an increase in military drills.

The official also mentioned the Council’s dwindling significance and efficiency, adding that Russia is “in active dialogue in various formats with other countries and organizations.” Korchunov stated that Moscow will collaborate with constructive partners.

He also revealed Moscow’s plans to bring Arctic issues to the attention of other international organizations, noting interest from members of the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Korchunov emphasized that one of Russia’s regional interests is the development of northern shipping routes connecting Asian economic powerhouses with European markets.

Aleksey Chekunkov, Russia’s minister responsible for Arctic development, told RT in early April that “one-sided unfriendly actions” by other Arctic Council members, as well as a lack of cooperation, might “destabilize the Arctic” and lead to chaos.