Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 289

289 Arctic Yearbook 2015 that there are no actual grounds for tension in the region because of increasing military activity by Russia: Arctic maneuvers [sic], military operations, I’m not – I have not seen anything that goes much above and beyond what we’ve seen in the past decade or so from the Russians. What has happened is, for instance, the Norwegians and the Russians have been conducting joint military exercises up until when the sanctions were invoked. Because of the sanctions, we’re not allowed to have military-to-military contact and operations, so they’ve done it separately. When the Norwegians did their exercises, it got no notice. When the Russians did their exercises, it was portrayed as Russian aggression. I’m not sure that they’ve done anything more than they’ve done in the past, and they have a right to take necessary steps to preserve their sovereignty of the waters that they’re responsible for (U.S. Department of State 2015). From S. Lavrov’s point of view, there are no problems in the Arctic that require NATO’s involvement or any military solutions at all (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation 2014). In his view, the Arctic region is not influenced by the current difficult international situation (Sputnik 2014b). From Russia’s viewpoint, the Arctic is a peaceful region and there are no direct military risks. Therefore, the Arctic should remain a zone with a minimum of military activity (Sputnik 2014). Symbolic actions Geopolitical competition in the Arctic also has a symbolic