How Russia Could Annex the Arctic

Russia’s latest military exercise could be it’s latest step toward claiming maritime borders in the Arctic.

Tensions have increased a notch in the Arctic with the news that the Russians have started a major military exercise in the region. Nearly 40,000 servicemen, 41 warships and 15 submarines will be taking part in drills to make them combat-ready—a major show of strength in a region that has long been an area of strategic interest to Russia.

Russia might be reshaping national borders in Europe as it reasserts its geopolitical influence, but the equivalent borders in the Arctic have never been firmly established. Historically it has proven much harder for states to assert sovereignty over the ocean than over land, even in cases where waters are ice-covered for most of the year. Continue reading

Russia Preparing Patrols of Arctic Shipping Lanes

MOSCOW — Russia on Saturday announced an initiative to address climate change. But it had nothing to do with smokestacks.

Russia’s military said it planned to sail regular naval patrols along shipping lanes in its territory in the Arctic Ocean that opened to commercial vessels only in the last few years, as Arctic ice began melting at a record pace. Continue reading