Newsletter: Despite the Crisis, See You Up North!

Russlands ambassadør til Norge, Teimuraz O. Ramishvili, og utenriksminister Anniken Huitfeldt (Ap).
Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt will meet Russian Ambassador Teimuraz O. Ramishvili during the Kirkenes Conference on Wednesday. (Archive photo of Ramishvili: Hege Eilertsen, photo of Huitfeldt: Labor Party)

Dear High North News reader! Two Nordic countries border on Russia in the North. Next week, these three countries meet for dialogue in Kirkenes, Norway. This, in addition to a challenging voyage along the Northern Sea Route and news from Svalbard are some of the stories we bring you in this week's newsletter from High North News.

The Ukraine crisis plays out far away from the High North. People who live in the North, with the daily proximity to their Russian neighbors, nevertheless have to relate to the threat of war. Just in a different way from those living further south.

In three weeks, the Norwegian-led NATO exercise Cold Response commences. It is one of the largest military exercises in Norway since the Cold War. (Norwegian only)

Face to face

Next week, we will even meet face to face at the Kirkenes Conference.

Right in the midst of it all, we are bombarded throughout the day by opposing news stories from the Ukraine conflict, as Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm writes in this week’s commentary:

As notherners, we are nevertheless quite alone in facing the threat of war face to face. On Wednesday, the Kirkenes Conference kicks off with a political high-level meeting between Norway and Russia.

High North News will of course be present in Kirkenes next week and will be reporting directly from the proceedings there.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt (Labor) will also be in Kirkenes next week, as she is scheduled to meet Russia’s Ambassador to Norway.

Huitfelt recently gave a speech at the University of Oslo with a clear message: We should not be surprised at what we now see playing out.

– The foreign policy reflects an internal development in Russia that is cause for worry, the foreign minister says.

Exercise and strategy

According to the Norwegian intelligence services’ most recent threat assessment, the Arctic is increasingly important to the great powers. Despite security policy tension between Russia and the West, Russian behavior in the High North nevertheless shows that Moscow has an interest in a stable Arctic, according to the most recent threat assessment.

There are military exercises in the USA too. The US Army Alaska has published plans about a major exercise in cold weather conditions that will focus on large-scale battle operations.

And American senators point to a need for an extensive Arctic strategy.

Less ice and record-high profits

Exciting things are happening along the Northern Sea Route (NSR).

This week, an Arc-7 classified heavy cargo carrier reached Murmansk after being escorted by two nuclear-powered icebreakers along the Northern Sea Route when transporting a 12,000-ton module from China through the Arctic.

It was the first voyage of this kind this late in winter, another sign that the Polar Ocean is opening even faster than before.

In Swedish mining, business is booming. High iron ore prices have contributed to a record-high profit of almost SEK 49 billion for Swedish mining giant LKAB.

We can also tell you about how young people are to be tempted to live in the High North (Norwegian only), and there has been a new deposition at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

An eventful week in the Arctic, in other words. Perhaps we’ll see you in Kirkenes next week?

On behalf of our editorial staff I wish you all the best for the upcoming weekend!
Trine Jonassen,
News Editor, High North News