Russia could terminate its membership in the Arctic Council if Western member states discriminate against it, the country’s Foreign Ministry has warned.
Nikolay Korchunov, ambassador-at-large and Moscow’s senior representative in the organization, noted that the group’s role and effectiveness have diminished of late due to the policies being pursued by the Western powers.
- In an interview with Russia’s TASS media outlet published on Sunday, Korchunov said that should Norway, which became the Council’s chair on Thursday, choose not to invite Russia to take part in its activities, this would constitute a violation of Russia’s rights.
- “In this case, the continuation of our country’s participation in this organization’s activities will hardly be possible,” the diplomat clarified.
Following the start of Russia’s military campaign against Ukraine last February, the other members of the intergovernmental body, which includes Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, and the US, effectively cut all contact with Moscow and froze over a hundred joint projects.
In his interview, Korchunov warned that Western countries’ growing insistence on confrontation and the pursuit of their own interests at the expense of the interests of other nations in the Arctic could potentially lead to escalation.
He cited NATO’s “expansion” in the region, which has seen ever more military drills held there recently.
- The official also noted the Council’s weakening role and waning effectiveness, adding that Russia is engaging “in active dialogue in various formats with other countries and organizations.” Korchunov pointed out that Moscow would be working with constructive partners.
He also revealed Moscow’s plans to put Arctic issues on the agenda of other international entities, citing interest among members of BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
- Among Russia’s priorities in the region is the development of the northern shipping routes connecting Asian economic powerhouses with European markets, Korchunov stressed.
Speaking to RT in early April, Russia’s minister responsible for developing the Arctic, Aleksey Chekunkov lamented that “one-sided unfriendly actions” by the other members of the Arctic Council and lack of cooperation could “destabilize the Arctic” and lead to chaos.