NATO chief warns of Russian and Chinese interest in the Arctic

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday warned against Russia’s military build-up in the Arctic and China’s growing interest in this part of the world.

During a visit to northern Canada, Stoltenberg said the shortest North American route for Russian missiles and bombers is over the North Pole. He said Russia has established a new Arctic Command and opened hundreds of new and former Soviet-era military sites in the Arctic, including deep-water airports and ports.

“We are seeing a significant Russian military buildup with new bases and new weapons systems and also using the High North as a test base for their most advanced weapons, including hypersonic missiles,” Stoltenberg said at a Canadian military base in Cold Lake. Alberta.

Stoltenberg also noted that China has declared itself a “near Arctic” country. He said Beijing plans to build the world’s largest icebreaker and is spending tens of billions of dollars on energy, infrastructure and research projects in the North.

Beijing and Moscow also pledged to intensify practical cooperation in the Arctic. This forms part of a deep strategic partnership that challenges our values ​​and interests,” Stoltenberg said.

He also noted that climate change is making the Arctic more accessible to militaries and welcomed Canada’s recent announcement that it will boost its defense spending.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who accompanied Stoltenberg, showed some of Canada’s spending and activities in the north. Those include promises of billions of dollars in new military equipment and capabilities, including plans to buy new combat aircraft and upgrade the aging NORAD early warning system in North America with Washington.

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Trudeau said, referring to a Russian attack on Ukraine.

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