IN The Arctic is home to approximately two-thirds of Russia’s oil and gas deposits. But not only because of the raw materials and minerals there, the Far North can become an arena of military clashes between Russia and NATO, writes DW. That’s why:
The war in Ukraine has unexpectedly returned Canada to the stage of world politics – both in relation to energy carriers and in matters of defence. The recent visits to the north by German Chancellor Scholz and NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg speak eloquently about this.
Russian aggression in Ukraine has prompted the government in Ottawa to review its budget policy. In June, it announced it would invest 4.9 billion Canadian dollars (about 3.8 billion U.S. dollars) over the next 6 years to modernize the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s NORAD system. At the same time, the head of NATO said that because of the new threats from Russia, the defense alliance will increase its activity in the Arctic.
Is a military clash possible?
“The Arctic is an area to which the war in Ukraine can expand,” says Joran Svistek, co-author of the study “Russia in the Arctic” by the German Science and Policy Foundation. This is the so-called spill over (when given events lead to the occurrence of others that are only at first glance unrelated to each other). The expert believes that the Arctic has become a place of possible future confrontation due to its large-scale militarization, especially by Russia. A military clash could be caused not necessarily by conscious actions, but by human errors or misunderstanding of the actions of the opposing side, added Svistek.
Another expert believes that in recent years the North Atlantic Alliance NATO has completely ignored what is happening in the Arctic, while at the same time Russia has steadily increased its military presence in the region. “Many misinterpret the situation, thinking that conflicts may arise in the Arctic because of the raw materials and minerals there. But it’s actually the opposite: the cause of the tension is the events in Ukraine, which cast a shadow, including on the Far North,” says the expert on geopolitical issues and security from Bonn.
The importance of the Arctic for the Russian economy
The Arctic zone of Russia covers about five million square kilometers and stretches along the coasts of the Barents, Kara, East Siberian and Chukchi Seas, all the way to the Bering Strait.
The length of the Arctic coast of the Russian Federation is more than 24 thousand kilometers, which is more than half of the coastline of the entire Arctic.
And the Russian authorities’ interest in the region is quite understandable: about 90 percent of Russian gas and about 60 percent of oil is produced in the Arctic. Approximately two-thirds of the volume of Russian oil and gas deposits are also located there. According to experts, by 2035, about 60 percent of hydrocarbons will be produced in deposits located in the Arctic.
Editor: Denis Nikiforov