Dear High North News reader! A lot happens at once in the High North, and most of it has to do with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The invasion that caught most of the world off guard on Thursday a week ago continues to send waves across the Arctic.
On Thursday, the Arctic Council published a joint statement from seven of its eight member states – Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland; Norway, Sweden, and the USA – condemn Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and put the AC cooperation on a “temporary pause”.
Researchers interviewed by High North News agree that the announced pause of the Arctic Council was inevitable.
“It is impossible to shield this area from the conflicts with Russia, but the door is not shut”, says Elana Wilson Rowe at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. (Norwegian only)
“This is not meant to be a lasting pause”, says Morten Høglund, Norway’s Arctic Ambassador. (Norwegian only)
That happens on the same day at which it emerged that Russia has declined an invitation to observe the NATO exercise Cold Response.
During the past week, we at High North news has worked on revealing and mapping what consequences the war in Ukraine may have for the High North, both in the economic as well as the human sphere.
It is the human aspect that hits our Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm hard:
“First, we led them into a serious climate crisis. Then they were hit by a pandemic that noone, despite warnings, had prepared us for. After that, Vladimir Putin sent his murder weapons into the European civilian population. This is the world in which we let our children grow up”, Holm writes in this week’s powerful Friday commentary.
However, at this stage, military analysts do not see any signs of the conflict itself expanding to the North.
“I do not believe that what happens now in Ukraine will necessarily have a strong direct effect on the border relationship between Norway and Russia”, says High North Professor Rasmus Gjedssø Bertelsen at the University of Tromsø.
Though at the same time, he points out that in a worst-case scenario, the North has a high conflict potential.
Even though Norway has been shielded so far, Hedda Langemyr and Odd Jarl Borch argue that one should clarify what needs to be done from civilian authorities should measures in the civilian sector of society be deemed necessary. (Norwegian only)
On Monday, one of Norway’s most ardent fans of Norwegian-Russian cooperation went public telling that he is returning his Order of Friendship medal, which he received from the Russian president in 2020.
“This was just to much”, Rune Rafaelsen said.
High North News also has other news and comments on offer this week, focusing on other things happening in the High North. Read about it here.
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News Editor, High North News