Putin naval speech highlights the Arctic; Alaskan senator plots Arctic infrastructure

Russian President Vladimir Putin has laid out the new naval doctrine of the Russia Federation and openly outlined Russia’s preoccupation with the Arctic.

“We set the boundaries and areas of Russia’s national interests — economic, vital and strategic — clearly and transparently,” the Kremlin leader said.

“First and foremost, these are our waters of the Arctic, the Black Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, the Bering Sea, and the Baltic and Kuril Straits. We will ensure their protection rigorously and using all available tools.”

Putin gave the speech at a ceremony held at the St. Petersburg State History Museum on Russia’s Navy Day. His address has been published in English on the Kremlin’s website.

The doctrine casts the United States and NATO as Russia’s main rivals.

According to a press release on Aug. 3, Republican U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska put forward legislation to address national priorities in the Arctic region.

In the release, the Arctic Commitment Act includes national security, shipping, research and trade provisions. It mandates reports on eliminating Russia’s “monopoly” on Arctic shipping and creating a permanent U.S. maritime presence in the Arctic. It calls for more spending on deep-water Artic ports.

“The United States is an Arctic Nation, and it is long overdue that we think and act strategically to seize the new opportunities of the High North, as well as the challenges of the region,” said U.S. Senator Angus King, who co-sponsored the bill, in the release.

“We cannot be bystanders in the region when we are at a true inflection point in the Arctic.”

Contact Dana Hatherly at dana.hatherly@yukon-news.com