US media claims Russian northern fleet could threaten US east coast
The United States is concerned about Russia's growing might in the Arctic region.
The United States is worried about the Russian Northern Fleet posing a threat to its military presence in light of NATO bolstering its presence in the Arctic, seeing as Moscow is "seeking to expand its military presence" in the region, US media reported Wednesday.
"The fear is that a modernized Russian Northern Fleet could swing down through the straits between Greenland, Iceland and Britain, a move known in NATO as a 'red right hook,' to cut sea lanes and underwater cables and threaten the American East Coast with cruise missiles," The New York Times said.
According to NYT, Moscow is a respectable power in the Arctic, as Russia possesses naval bases and nuclear missiles in the Far North and in the Kola Peninsula, near Norway, which is where the majority of its nuclear submarines are situated.
Climate change made shipping routes easier to navigate in light of the melting ice caps, which rendered the Arctic more accessible and more attractive for both commercial exploitation and military endeavors, the newspaper added.
Russian media raised the fact that the report comes as Russia is hosting the 2023 International Arctic Summit, which commemorates the 90th anniversary of the Soviet Union taking the decision to officially manage and administer its Northern Sea Route along the Arctic.
"Russia is taking and will continue to take all the necessary measures to ensure national interests and strengthen the defense capability in the Arctic, a strategic region for our country," senior Russian Foreign Ministry official Sergey Belyaev told Sputnik.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in September 2022 highlighted that "Russia is returning to the Arctic both from an economic point of view and in terms of ensuring the country's defense capability, as well as from the perspective of preventing emergencies," noting that "We will develop the infrastructure of the [Russian] Ministry of Emergency Situations [EMERCOM] there," additionally "The development of the Northern Sea Route will take place and we have already launched some major economic projects there, including in the energy sector."
The president also argued that the Arctic is an ecologically very "vulnerable" region and required special attention to ensure its protection as it is considered "to a large extent related to the Arctic".
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said a month earlier that cooperation between Russia and China in the Arctic poses a strategic challenge to the values and interests of the alliance.
"Russia’s ability to disrupt Allied reinforcements across the North Atlantic is a strategic challenge to the Alliance," the alliance's chief said.
China is also expanding its presence in the region, declaring itself a "near-Arctic state" and planning to create a "Polar Silk Road" connecting it with Europe through the Arctic, Stoltenberg added.