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Russia says media reports on possible Arctic conflict ‘alarmist’

RIA Novosti [1]
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

MOSCOW, October 22 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Foreign Ministry believes media speculation about the possibility of a war over the Arctic are ungrounded and “alarmist,” an ambassador at large said Wednesday.

“Media assessments of possible aggression in the Arctic, even a third world war, are seen as extremely alarmist and provocative. In my opinion, there are no grounds for such alarmism,” Anton Vasilyev, who is also a high-ranking official on the Arctic Council, said.

“We are following the situation in the region, this also includes the military activity of other countries, but we hope cooperation will be the main feature,” he said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in September at a Russian Security Council session that the external frontier of the Russian continental shelf in the Arctic should be defined as soon as possible.

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“We have to reliably ensure Russia’s national interests in the Arctic in the long term,” he said then.

Medvedev also said the Arctic shelf is a guarantee of Russia’s energy security and that the Arctic should become the resource base for Russia this century, adding that “about 20% of Russia’s GDP and 22% of Russian exports are produced” in the area.

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