Canadian top military official defines who the Russians are in the Arctic

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Canadian Parliament explores Canada’s sovereignty in the region

On September 19, 2018, in the course of a meeting of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development of the House of Commons, Maj.-Gen. William Seymour, Deputy Commander of the Canadian Joint Operations Command, answering questions on Russian tactics and actions in the Arctic, assured members of Parliament that Canada’s sovereignty in the region was neither under threat nor under attack from Russia.

William Seymour specified that on the basis of Canada’s geographic location, the Canadian perception of Russia in the Arctic zone differs from that of Canada’s European allies who follow the path of investing into the enhancement of their military potential. “Norwegians will take an approach when they buy capability to protect themselves because Russians are operating in their Arctic,” stated the military commander. At the same time, he excluded speculations on “Russian submarines hiding in the Arctic North” beside Canada as a “technologically out of date” method. According to this top military official, modern weapons, including those “super weapons” advertised by the Russian President Vladimir Putin, can be launched from far outside Canada’s North to hit their targets in North America. The same statement was carried over to Russian aircraft, flying close to the U.S.A. and Canada. The recent incident with two groups of two Russian maritime reconnaissance aircraft entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone was reported on September 21, 2018. Such actions are “more as a posturing activity rather than something of a necessity in terms of an attack,” concluded the Major General.

William Seymour also elaborated on the Russian interest in the Arctic. He adduced three reasons of Russia’s building of its Northern territory; among them are more than 2.5 million people living in the Russian North, exploration of the Arctic sea route as a “key to the future of Russia’s economy,” and security of the Russian Northern fleet. All the other long-term Arctic strategies arrogated to Russia, he called “speculative.” It was also mentioned during the meeting that Russia is a part of a working cooperation between coast guards in the Arctic. The task of this cooperation is to address a state of emergency in the region should it arise.

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