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Why Russia doesn't allow the US to the Arctic

21.03.2019 17:16

The leadership of the White house expresses dissatisfaction with its unrealized opportunities in the Arctic Ocean. Not so long ago, the commander of the US Navy Admiral James Foggo said that the US "will not allow Russia and China to dominate the Arctic and control the Northern Sea Route" and therefore the operational plans of the Pentagon in the region will be revised. Earlier, the US Secretary of state Mike Pompeo after talks with the foreign Minister of Iceland Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson said that the actions of Russia in the Arctic "presented a risk to the freedom-loving countries."

In response to these provocations, Russia announced new rules for the use of the Northern Sea Route by foreign military and civilian vessels. From now on, their crews will have to notify the Russian authorities about their plans 45 days before the passage and necessarily take on board Russian pilots. These actions immediately caused sharp criticism from the Western partners of the Kremlin.

However, Russia is not the only Arctic state that wants to protect its own territory. Thus, Norway was allowed to establish sovereignty over the Arctic territory of Spitsbergen archipelago in the framework of the peace conference in Paris in 1920. Norwegian government not only declared the archipelago its territory, but also established the status of inland waters in coastal waters. In 1985 Canada declared the Northwest Passage, located inside the Canadian Arctic archipelago, its inland waters territory. The interesting fact is that those actions caused none of negative emotions in any country of the world.

In addition, the Northern Sea Route is geographically located near the sea borders of the Russian Federation, and sometimes even crosses them, which makes foreign ships unable to pass on this route without Russia's consent to their passage through their sovereign territories. In other words, no state today, including the Arctic, will be able to carry out its activities in the region, if Russia does not give its permission to use its territory for mooring foreign ships, providing them with means of communication, as well as carrying out a rescue operation in the event of natural disasters and changes in the ice situation.

Another indisputable argument in favor of restrictions and control over navigation on the Northern Sea Route given by the Russian side is the need to preserve the marine environment and ensure international environmental safety. It means that introducing new rules Russia is guided by the idea of protection of a unique transport sea artery from pollution. Imagine what will happen to the Northern Sea Route and its unique flora and fauna in a few decades if everyone uses it intensively without exception. In this case, the Russian coast will suffer in the first place.

Thus, Russia is quite reasonably taking active actions to protect its sovereignty in the Arctic region, guided, first of all, by maintaining control over the environment of the Northern Sea Route and ensuring the safety of navigation there. This will actually enable the commanders of ships in case of emergency situations or deterioration of the ice situation to send a distress signal to the nearest Russian ports or naval bases and receive qualified assistance.