Opinion

Russia May Forge Partnerships With Asia and Mideast to Explore Arctic – Expert

 / Go to the mediabankThe Avraamy Zavenyagin icebreaker at the seaport of Dudinka. The federal Arctic port on the Northern Sea Route Dudinka is the largest in Siberia and the northernmost international seaport in Russia. / Go to the mediabank

Moscow does not rule out withdrawing from the Arctic Council as the West tries to sideline the nation over its special military operation in Ukraine. No collective Arctic decisions could be made without Russia, Grigory Dobromelov, head of the Department of State Consulting, told Sputnik.Russia has signaled that it could quit the Arctic Council, the intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation in the Arctic, if its activities do not meet Russia’s interests. In March 2022, Western member countries Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Norway, the US, Finland and Sweden announced they would suspend their participation in the council’s events over Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.Presently, Russia maintains cooperation with the seven Arctic nations on a bilateral basis.In May 2023, Norway assumed the presidency of the council and has since tried to restart the organization’s work in a full format. Even though the council states could meet without Russia, there are a lot of issues of shared interests that could not be made without Moscow’s participation, as per Grigory Dobromelov, head of the Department of State Consulting.

"Various issues of trans-Arctic cooperation and global stability and security in the Arctic cannot be discussed without Russia," Dobromelov told Sputnik. "Sooner or later, all the countries of the Arctic region will be forced to sit down and discuss issues of security and sustainable development. It will happen sooner or later. However, the crux of the matter is that there is an escalation right now. The United States has filed an application to increase its shelf area, which contradicts the interests of Russia. Let's see how it will pan out in the near future."

RussiaRussia Not Ruling Out Withdrawal From Arctic Council if Necessary6 February, 06:04 GMTThe Arctic Council was established in 1996 between all eight Arctic states and permanent participation of regional indigenous peoples associations to promote cooperation, coordination and interaction on common Arctic issues, most notably on issues of sustainable development and environmental protection. The intergovernmental entity is managed by Senior Arctic Official (SAO) meetings, which are held twice a year, as well as biennial ministerial meetings. The chairship of the organization rotates between the state members. Each state chairs the council for two years at a time.According to Dobromelov, Russia may use this window of opportunity to build new partnership alliances in the Arctic to pursue its geopolitical and economic interests in the region. He drew attention to the fact that China, South Asian countries and Arab states are interested in exploring the High North.

China has been cooperating with Russia on various Arctic projects, including, in particular, Yamal LNG and the Arctic LNG 2 gas plants, for quite a while. In 2023, Moscow and Beijing agreed to expand collaboration on Arctic energy and transport, including the joint exploitation of the Northern Sea Route (NSR), a shipping lane stretching for about 5,600 kilometers from the Kara Gates to Provideniya Bay through the waters of Russia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Russia plans to ship up to 270 million tons through the artery annually by 2035.

AnalysisIs US Trying to Catch Up to Russia & China in Arctic Race? 25 December 2023, 18:06 GMT”For Russia and for the whole world, the Arctic is not only a giant deposit of minerals but also (including climatic trends, the development of the icebreaker fleet and modern technologies) is the Northern Sea Route,” Dobromelov said. “Taking into account the tension in the Persian Gulf, in the Gulf of Aden, taking into account the ever-increasing risks of cargo transportation on other routes, the Arctic and the Northern Sea Route is seen as an important and, most notably, safe alternative for cargo transportation.””Russia started actively developing the Northern Sea Route most recently and now it cannot take full advantage of the difficulties that exist in transportation through the Middle East. But gradually, of course, Russia can win the competition here. But in order to develop the Northern Sea Route, it is necessary to develop territories and cities, port infrastructure, and the infrastructure of the Northern Sea Route as a whole.”WorldUS Seabed Claim Could Be Attempt to Beat Russia and Canada to Arctic Resources28 December 2023, 18:56 GMT

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