Newsletter: Military Presence and Sanctions

Bjørn Arild Gram
Norways Minister of Defense Bjørn Arild Gram (Sp) visited the Defender Europe 2022 exercise, together with the Danish Minister of Defense Morten Bødskov and the Swedish State Secretary Jan-Olav Lindh on Bornholm on Tuesday 24 May. (Photo: Marita Hundershagen / FD)

Dear HNN reader! Russia wants to resume cooperation through the Arctic Council as quickly as possible. At the same time, the war rages on and Western sanctions cause all the more  trouble for Russian companies. This is the week, as seen from the High North.

In a High North News interview, the Chair of the Russian Presidency of the Arctic Council says that the Council’s work should be resumed as quickly as possible. (Norwegian only)

He also warns against Swedish and Finnish NATO membership, saying they may “incite militarization of the region and growth in corresponding expenses, which may affect budgets for development, environmental protection, and measures for climate adoption.”

That is a statement Associate Professor Marc Lanteigne finds ironic, given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In an op-ed, Mariia Kobzeva at the University of Tromsø, Norway writes that "[t]he loss of the Russian Arctic as a cooperative part will unfold challenges that can become irreversible for Arctic people and the environment."

 The sanctions work

The West’s powerful sanctions against Russia continue causing trouble for Russian companies. The South Korean shipyard DSME now cancels orders for three Arc7 classified LNG vessels as the Russian shipping company Sovcomflot fails to make payments as a result of sanctions. 

The Russian president recently signed off on new instructions transferring almost all responsibility for activities on the Northern Sea Route (NSR) to Rosatom. 

Increased presence

In the coming months, the Nordic countries will strengthen their military presence in the Arctic through joint exercises, training and visits, the Nordic defense ministers say in a recently issued joint statement. 

The ministers point out that Finnish-Swedish NATO membership will “improve our collective defense, increase security and stability, as well as strengthen the Alliance in Northern Europe”. 

The USA also throws its weight about in the Arctic, more precisely; in Greenland. Though neither Danish nor Greenlandic authorities are familiar with the details of the US plans to invest billions in Thule Air Base in Greenland. 

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Wishing you all the best for the weekend on behalf of the High North News editorial staff,

Trine Jonassen, News Editor

This newsletter was originally written in Norwegian and has been translated and adapted by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.