NATO must increase its presence in the Arctic : Stoltenberg

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NATO must increase its presence in the Arctic : Stoltenberg

NATO must prioritize its military presence in the Arctic, the military alliance's chief Jens Stoltenberg said Sunday, reported DW, quoting news agencies .AP, AFP and dpa.

His comments come amid heightened concerns in the West about Russia's increasing military activity in the polar region, following the invasion of Ukraine.

In an interview with Welt am Sonntag newspaper, Stoltenberg said the Arctic was of "great strategic importance" to NATO.

"NATO must increase its presence in the Arctic," Stoltenberg said.

He said the defense alliance is "already investing in maritime reconnaissance aircraft to be able to get a clear picture of what is going on in the far north. But we will continue to step up our efforts."

Russia to station hypersonic missiles
Stoltenberg said that Russia has recently intensified its activities in the resource-rich area by "reopening Soviet-era bases" and "stationing and testing new state-of-the-art weapons there, such as hypersonic missiles."

China, too, is increasingly interested in the Arctic, he added, noting how the region is becoming increasingly important for shipping due to climate change.

China, which describes itself as a "near-Arctic" state, plans to create a so-called Polar Silk Road, benefiting from receding ice caps.

The proposal would include building the world's largest icebreaker fleet, allowing new shipping routes for the mineral resources its industrial economy needs.

The Welt am Sonntag interview was not the first time Stoltenberg has spoken out about the Arctic.

In an interview with DW last year, the NATO chief warned that climate change could heat up geopolitics in the polar region.

US to nominate Arctic ambassador
On Friday, the United States said it would appoint a special ambassador-at-large for the Arctic region for the first time.

The plan, which still needs Senate approval, is aimed at promoting "American interests and cooperation with Allies and partners in the Arctic," a statement from the US State Department said.

The polar region includes territories belonging to Russia, the US, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

NATO must increase its presence in the Arctic : Stoltenberg

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