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Svalbard is home to scientific radar facilities. Russia is concerned that these may be used for military purposes. Courtesy of Bernt Rostad/Flickr

Svalbard: NATO’s Arctic ‘Achilles’ Heel’

James K Wither
RUSI Journal, 6 December 2018
NATO, Russia
The archipelago of Svalbard shows how emergent issues in the Arctic could lead to new tensions between Russia and NATO.

The Arctic has been characterised as an area of low tension in relations between Russia and NATO states in the region. However, there are several emerging issues that could give rise to tensions in the future. James K Wither analyses the prominent example of the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, exploring how the territory’s distance from mainland Norway and peculiar legal status leave it politically and militarily vulnerable to Russian adventurism intended to test NATO’s cohesion and solidarity in a crisis.

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