Russia calls increased NATO military activity in the Arctic worrying, warns of “unintended incidents” – TASS

REUTERS/Essi Lehto
Imatra border station chief Antti Vahe looks on, at the border crossing point with Russia, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Imatra, Finland March 23, 2022. Picture taken March 23, 2022.

Russia is worried about increased activity of NATO forces in the Arctic and sees risks of “unintended incidents” occurring in the region, TASS news agency cited Russian ambassador-at-large Nikolai Korchunov as saying on Sunday.

In March, Finland and Sweden, which are both considering joining the U.S.-led military NATO alliance, conducted combined NATO military drills. The exercise was long planned, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 added intensity to the war game. Moscow describes its actions in Ukraine as a “special military operation”.

“The recent increase in NATO’s activity in the Arctic is a cause for concern. Another large-scale military exercise of the alliance was recently held in northern Norway. In our view, this does not contribute to the security of the region,” Korchunov said.

According to Korchunov, such activity raises the risk of “unintended incidents”, which, in addition to security risks, can also cause serious damage to the Arctic ecosystem.

He did not specify what type of incident he might be referring to.

One of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies warned NATO on Thursday that if Sweden and Finland joined NATO then Russia would deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in a European exclave.