Moscow. Russia wants to expand its presence in the Arctic. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in Moscow on Wednesday, according to Interfax, that the presidency of the Arctic Council, which Moscow will assume responsibility for next month, should be used for this purpose.
“This is an opportunity to strengthen our country’s role as the coordinator and initiator of many programs in the region.” He did not give any details at the beginning.
In addition to Russia, the Arctic Council includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Canada, Norway, Sweden and the United States of America. It is a forum for cooperation and it specifically aims to pay attention to sustainable development and environmental protection in the region surrounding the Arctic. Russia claims to possess the raw materials found on the seabed in the Arctic and recently demonstrated an increasing military presence there.
Russia builds “the most powerful icebreaker fleet in the world”
Russia also wants to use new icebreakers to make the Arctic open for year-round shipping. Vladimir Putin, head of the Kremlin, said that in the very near future, ships could travel year-round through the northeastern pass along the Russian Arctic coast. To this end, the “world’s most powerful icebreaker fleet” is being built.
A year ago, Moscow announced the construction of the largest nuclear icebreaker to date, the “Leader”. Only in March, after the Suez Canal was closed for days by a container ship, did alternative routes to the important shipping route between Asia and Europe come into focus.