Arctic: Russia

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 27th May 2022.

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Photo of John Healey John Healey Shadow Secretary of State for Defence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the (a) implications for his policies of Russian military activity in the Arctic and (b) potential threat that activity poses to the UK and its NATO allies in that region.

Photo of James Heappey James Heappey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The UK recognises that, as an Arctic nation, Russia has an important presence in the region; accordingly we expect Russia to comply with international law. Over the last fifteen years, Russia has increasingly militarised its Arctic territory, it has steadily increased military activity in the region and invested in military infrastructure there, establishing a new Northern Joint Strategic Command, reopening Cold War-era bases above the Arctic Circle, and investing further in Arctic-capable equipment. Russian submarine activity in the North Atlantic has reached Cold War levels. While this activity is not, in and of itself, a breach of international law, it presents challenges which impact upon the interests of the UK, our Allies and partners, and the inhabitants of the Arctic, and to which we must be vigilant and prepared to respond.

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