How tensions between Russia and the West are mounting in the Arctic

Featured in The Times

Competition in the Arctic


“There’s a sense of vulnerability for Russia now,” said Neil Melvin, the Director of International Security at the Royal United Services Institute. Most of its land forces have withdrawn from the high north to bolster the war effort in Ukraine, while the invasion has driven Finland and Sweden towards Nato, leaving Russia the only Arctic state outside the alliance. “Looking beyond the Ukraine war, Russia is likely to have to rely more on its maritime and its nuclear forces in the years ahead, because its conventional army has been devastated in the Ukraine conflict,” Melvin warns. “But its naval forces in the high north, and in particular, its nuclear forces are largely untouched. And that may be what they are using to try to put pressure on the West. Increasingly the military dimension is spilling into the Arctic.”