Arctic security also altered by Russian offensive, NATO chief says, in visit to Cold Response

"It is a new normal for European security, and also for Arctic security."

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OSLO — Russia’s military behavior changes the security calculus for the Arctic region, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said during a visit to his native Norway on Friday to observe the Cold Response 2022 military exercises.

“Russia’s war against Ukraine is a watershed moment. It is a new normal for European security, and also for Arctic security,” Stoltenberg said. Many Arctic states are members of NATO, he stressed.

Even if the war in Ukraine war were to end tomorrow, the events of the last weeks would have lasting implications, Stoltenberg said. Russia has shown it is prepared to challenge fundamental security principles using military means, he said.

[NATO, in Arctic training drills, faces up to Putin’s ‘unpredictable’ Russia]

Moscow invaded its western neighbor last month in what it calls a “special military operation” to demilitarize Kyiv and protect ethnic Russians. Kyiv’s Western allies, many of whom are in NATO, responded with massive sanctions on Moscow and arms shipments.

The former Norwegian prime minister also pointed out the strategic importance of the region around the North Pole for security and also for communication between North America and Europe.

There has been a significant increase in Russian military activity there in recent years, he said. Russia is testing many of its naval weapon systems in the region, which is also home to the country’s strategic submarine fleet, according to Stoltenberg.