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"We are going to the Arctic seriously and for a long time"

"We are going to the Arctic seriously and for a long time"

Anton Vasiliev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Iceland:

- In the pursuit of the reader in the press, it is often written that the Arctic is a zone of conflict of interests. In fact, it is in the Arctic that problems become less and less. I mean the problems of territorial delimitation between states. We have positive examples of solving these issues. Thus, the Treaty between Russia and Norway on the delimitation of maritime areas and cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean, signed in 2010, determined after 40 years of negotiations the line of delineation of maritime areas in the Barents Sea and further to the North Pole. Canada and the USA 1,5 years ago agreed on the line of the border between them in the Lincoln Sea - between Greenland and Canada - and further to the North Pole. They have only the question of the ownership of the island of Hans. For the time being, the dispute between Canada and the USA about delineations in the Beaufort Sea remains unresolved. But this is also a matter of time.

What is usually hinted at in the media when talking about disputes is the question of our application for the extension of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean and similar applications from Canada and Denmark. In 2001, we were not satisfied with the application, saying that there was not enough scientific justification. We have done a lot of research work during this time and are preparing an updated application. The same is done by both the Danes and Canadians. And since no formal applications have yet been made, it is difficult to talk about contradictions. On this score, there is a general political agreement. In 2008, a declaration was signed between the 5 Arctic states in the Greenlandic Ilulisate, the key point of which is that possible cross-cutting demands in the Arctic between these countries should be resolved through negotiations on the basis of the existing international legal framework. And the main element of the base is the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 year. While all states are true to this agreement and observe it.

Today, almost all Arctic countries pay attention to their military presence. For us, this is a very important issue, as expanding human activity, strengthening maritime and aviation activities create new potential threats. In these conditions, we simply need to protect our borders. Imagine, our border in the north, along the Arctic Ocean, is about 10 thousand kilometers, and if you count all the curves, then this line is 20 thousand kilometers. Previously they were covered by a harsh climate and ice. Now the climate is changing, the ice is melting, we remain open. And open borders are a danger and drug trafficking, and organized crime, and terrorism. Therefore it is logical that we cover this Arctic space with appropriate means and radar tracking of the cover, and respond to accidents and emergencies. Except for some extreme extremist statements in print media and scientists, everything we do in the Arctic in this regard does not cause contradictions.

In addition, stations for electronic surveillance of the Arctic expanses and entire military towns were abandoned since Soviet times. And it's great that, for example, now life on the Novosibirsk islands begins to boil. Aerodromes are being restored. This is vitally important for us, because we are going to the Arctic seriously and for a long time.


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