You can't take our Arctic! | Latest news The Moscow Post
29 November 2023

You can't take our Arctic!

What is behind the attempts of Western politicians to launch their "paw" into Arctic territories, and what is Russia doing here?

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during a briefing to The Moscow Post that Russia is alarmed by EU attempts to assert political ambitions in the Arctic region.

"Of course, we cannot help but be alarmed by such ridiculous attempts by the EU to assert its political ambitions in the Arctic region and extend its influence on it, to weaken the prospects for its sustainable development," Zakharova said.

The arguments openly put forward by the European Commission are that warming in the Arctic has a great impact on global warming. On this "climate" basis, the EC adopted a joint communiqué on "ensuring peace, sustainable development and prosperity in the Arctic." The strategy, among other things, criticizes Russia's actions to strengthen its security in the Arctic region.

"We really immediately drew attention to the EU Arctic Strategy published by the European Commission. It declares its intention to seek a moratorium on the extraction of hydrocarbons in the Arctic and their implementation. And for this purpose, Brussels intends to work with partners on a multilateral legally binding document, "Zakharova said.

Maria Zakharova on the ridiculous attempts of the EU to assert its political ambitions in the Arctic region

She said that attempts to solve global climate challenges "by artificially restricting economic activity in one single region, in principle, does not stand up to any criticism." The rejection of oil and gas produced in the Arctic instead of focusing on working together to develop a set of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is fraught with "undermining the sustainability of the global energy market, which, accordingly, can lead to much more serious shocks compared to those that we are currently seeing in Europe," added Maria Zakharova.

A Tight World Order

But shocks may not limit themselves to energy markets. The European Union said that "it does not want to live in the world order, in the formation of which it does not participate." Brussels has little role as the capital of world fame, for which there is no state status. The claim is simple - to become the capital of the euro-power in the classical sense of this term.

It is worth noting in this regard that the relations between the EU and the UN, as well as the European Commission and the Arctic Council, are somewhat similar.

At the UN, Brussels has to be content with the observer status that was granted to it in 1974. In 2011, the European Union received the right to send its representative to the UN, he is invited to the general debate of the General Assembly, he has the right to distribute materials. The Palestinian National Authority and the Vatican have the same status. As the "sole non-State party" to the organization, the EU has acceded to some UN agreements, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

In the Arctic Council, the European Union has been trying to obtain observer status since 2008. Then, in its Communiqué on the Arctic, Brussels called Canada, Russia and the United States "strategic partners." Priorities have since changed more than once. In June 2016, the European Commission clarified the goals of its Arctic policy with its emphasis on research, the ecology of Arctic territories, the conditions of economic development, and the prospects for constructive dialogue with Arctic states and peoples.

Within the framework of the Arctic Council, "Arctic status" has Russia, Canada, the USA, Norway and Denmark. Finland and Sweden are on the council as "Arctic" countries. There are also observer countries. So far, the EU remains an "ad hoc" (one-time) observer.

Play for "Mechanical Brussels"

Repeat: "We do not want to live in a world order in which we do not participate." But traces of EU "participation" in the world order are evident. What is the policy towards Ukraine worth. In the first act of this drama, the European Union addressed good ambassadors to Kiev about the "European fate" of post-Soviet Ukraine. As a result, he undermined the fundamentals of the functioning of the Ukrainian gas transmission system, not to mention the very statehood of this country. Euromaidan and its consequences, step by step, deprived Ukrainian gas pipelines that worked for the benefit of Europe, gas sources, and Ukraine of economic stability!

It was almost possible to destroy the GTS with the support of Brussels, but new circumstances appeared in the form of the Nord Stream. And with them there were hopes to return Ukraine the role of an important gas transit. The threads of the second stage are built, one is already filled with gas, but everyone is waiting for something, they are in no hurry to raise the curtain of "certification," despite the crisis. The European Commission continues to insist on its right, on the priority of renewable sources, on the supremacy of the European Gas Directive. Is this not participation in the world order, a role in its formation?

Further, under the banner "Fit for 55" is the second act of drama - the "green revolution," the transition to renewable energy, a carbon-neutral economy. There is nothing wrong with euro-plans to carry out the "green march," not counting its direction. East! One of the poorly concealed motives for the green revolution is this. The challenge is not just to free Europe from SO2 emissions. The Green Transition should free the EU from Russian hydrocarbons, deprive Russia of income received "at the expense of the European Union."

Act 3, Climate-Arctic

The problem is how Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov formulated it, that the "centers of force" (to which the EU belongs) adapt the situation "to their interests and to their agendas." This happens even in areas where the interests of the West and Russia coincide. The climate and resources of the Arctic are only one of the examples and areas of convergence of interests.

The Arctic is important "not only in the environmental, but also in the social, economic dimension. The Arctic is not only an integral integrated part of the Russian economy, but also an important component of global supply and production chains. In this case, we are talking about the supply of LNG and natural gas, metals, rare earth elements, which are so necessary for the production of "green" fuels, "explained Maria Zakharova.

Brussels "found" grounds for pressure on the world order and Euro-claims on the Arctic in its own composition, but they are shaky. Three of the eight Arctic Council countries (Denmark, Sweden, Finland) are members of the EU. But Finland and Sweden do not have oceanic borders with the Arctic, are considered "Arctic" territories, cannot claim the Arctic shelf. The EU can only justify its claim to a role in the Arctic thanks to Danish membership. But there's a problem! According to the results of the 1982 referendum, Greenland (the Arctic territory of Denmark) is not included in the EU.

Euro-representative for foreign affairs Josep Borrel, aka deputy chairman of the European Commission, said that "Europe must broadly outline its geopolitical interests." And his junior colleague, Virginius Sincevicius, Euro Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, added that coal, oil and gas "should remain underground in the Arctic." Accordingly, the European Commission advocates "a global moratorium on their production."

"Speaking about any prohibitions, you need to remember, you need to understand and be aware that the consequences of such decisions will affect, first of all, specific consumers," Zakharova said and explained that in this case we are talking about Europeans. "And they can also negatively affect the Arctic population, including indigenous people."

Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak noted that the Arctic demands of the European Union are "not motivated by anything but political reasons." And Maria Zakharova added that inside the Brussels bureaucracy, the EU clearly does not get coordination. This lack of governance within the European Commission is filled by the strong relations of the European Union with NATO - another brick in the building of the world order.

Stronger than the EU - stronger than NATO!

Brussels is not shy of this "bunch," emphasizes its importance. European Council President Charles Michel assured that cooperation between the EU and NATO is the cornerstone of community security. An updated EU-NATO declaration is being prepared for the alliance's summit in June 2022. Brussels introduced the concept of a "Strategic Compass," which defines the EU's approach to security and defense issues. The European Council said that it is necessary to strengthen the role of Europe in international affairs in general, as well as in the implementation of the strategy in the Indo-Pacific region.

Brussels says it will work with all key partners and stakeholders in the Arctic. But he makes a reservation that Russia, expanding the "space for maneuver and sphere of influence," acts to the detriment of the values ​ ​ and interests of the EU. Hence the strategy of working with Moscow in three areas: "fight back, restrain, and also interact," but only where it benefits Brussels.

For relations with China, they also found a triune formula. China is a "partner, competitor, rival." It is proposed to conduct a dialogue with Beijing "from a position of unity and strength," also to fight back in cases where Chinese decisions contradict "our beliefs." The Indo-Pacific region is the main "geostrategic theater of action" for the EU, Brussels "should be present there," introducing, so to speak, European fragrance into Asian affairs. As you can see, not only the Arctic was in the perimeter of the European Union's geostrategic claims.

Let them try it.

Russia is the largest Arctic state. And Moscow is no less than the EU "concerned about the future of the Arctic, the climate changes taking place there, their consequences." Moreover, the Russian side considers the sustainable development of the Arctic in an integrated manner, "said Maria Zakharova. "Responsible management for the sustainable Arctic" is the topic of Russia's chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

The Minister for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic, Alexei Chekunkov, notes that "for Russia, the Arctic is the engine of economic growth," provides 10% of GDP and gives about 20% of exports. The icebreaking fleet of the Russian Federation has about fifty vessels, including five nuclear icebreakers. Due to its northern regions, Russia controls more than half of the entire land territory of the Arctic region and 53% of the coastline of the Arctic Ocean, about half of all residents of the Arctic region live on Russian land.

Vladimir Putin emphasized, speaking in Sochi and answering a question about EU claims to the Arctic: "We have always talked about this... and at a meeting in Geneva with President Biden and with members of his team: we are still ready to continue our cooperation in a broad sense with all interested countries in the Arctic on the basis of international law. "

Neighbors, Partners and Adversaries

Noting in this regard the importance of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Russian president added that "We are acting on the basis of these internationally recognized documents to which we have acceded, and we are ready to build relations with all states of the world, including the European Union, on the basis of these documents," which cannot limit Russia's sovereign right to dispose of its resources on its territory.

Sergey Lavrov and his Norwegian counterpart Anniken Huitfeldt took part in a meeting of the Barents/EuroArctic Region Council (SBER). This topic was also raised during this meeting. Having reached the press after the negotiations, Lavrov stated that there were disagreements between Russia and Norway, that Norway was a member of NATO - "an organization that cannot be called a friend of Russia." The US military is already in Norway, monitoring the situation in the Arctic.

But pragmatic interests bring the positions of Moscow and Oslo closer. Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gar Støre also criticized the European Commission's proposal to ban oil and gas activities in the Arctic. He noted that the resolutions of "continental Europe to stop all activities beyond the Arctic Circle will not work." Norway has "rights and obligations to take care of its economic zone and activities in this region." Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed with this opinion.

The website of the Russian Foreign Ministry contains a comment on the text of the EU Arctic Strategy. The author is a member of the Council of the Association of Russian Diplomats A.A. Ignatiev. The commentary gives the opinion of a member of the Federation Council Commission for the Protection of State Sovereignty, Vladimir Poletaev, that the plans announced by the European Union in the Arctic are "an undisguised attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of the states represented in the region, including Russia."

Why don't parliamentarians make an official resolution on this issue, setting out Russia's position? In particular, it would be useful to remind Brussels that the European Union is not the main subject of international law.

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