Newsletter: The Arctic Battle Arena

Justisminister Emilie Enger Mehl og forsvarsminister Bjørn Arild Gram
Minister of Justice and Public Security, Emilie Enger Mehl (Center), and Minister of Defense, Bjørn Arild Gram (Center), at a press conference about this year's threat and risk assessment from the Norwegian Intelligence Service, the Norwegian Police Security Service, and the National Security Authority. (Photo: the Norwegian Ministry of Defense) 

Dear reader; battles are being fought in several arenas in the North. Sweden and Finland battle for NATO, the West for cooperation, some strive for Norwegian fish quotas, and perhaps the most important battle of all; for the climate and a liveable planet. Here is the week as seen from the north.

Extensive work is taking place to close all the gaps in Arctic security cooperation. 

While Norway's new defense agreement with the US is brought to life, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark are negotiating equivalent agreements with Washington D.C. 

All the while reports of Russian Arctic weapon systems and military personnel being lost in combat, continue to stack up. 

The need for increased collaboration in the Arctic has caused American President Joe Biden to make a nomination for the newly established position as the US Ambassador-at-Large for the Arctic Region.

The sad truth is that Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine has ended decades of cooperation and collaboration in the Arctic, as a US State Department official stated at a high-level event on the region. 

"The war in Ukraine has increased Russia's need to fortify its security interests in the Arctic,” says Deputy Head of the Norwegian Intelligence Service. 

Gas and fish quotas 

Russian producer of liquified natural gas, Novatek, has its first floating storage unit arriving in the Barents Sea within a month of setting off a busy choreography of LNG tankers traveling up and down along Norway’s coastline. 

In Norway, the government will now clarify how expired structural quotas worth several billion NOK will be distributed within the fishing fleet (Norwegian only). 

The fight for the climate 

The EU Council could remove mentions of black carbon emissions in the Arctic from the EU’s maritime regulation this week.

 The good news is that the content of three heavy metals in the Russian-Norwegian border river was reduced by as much as 70-80 percent in 2021, compared to the last five years before the smelting plant in Nikel, Russia, was closed. 

Read about this and more at High North News. 

Feel free to let us know what you would like to read more about. 

Wishing you a good weekend on behalf of the editorial staff, 

News Editor Trine Jonassen 

This newsletter has been translated by Birgitte Annie Molid Martinussen.