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20 Sep, 2010 11:52

Russia does not plan to deploy troops in Arctic – envoy

Russia will not create an Arctic military force irrespective of any territorial disputes that may develop in the energy-rich region, said the Russian envoy to the eight-nation Arctic Council.

“Forming special Arctic troops is not on the Russian agenda,” Anton Vasilyev told a news conference on Monday. “But we did indeed plan to strengthen the materiel of the forces responsible for security, primarily in ensuring the safety of navigation at sea.”

The envoy added that any speculations about militarization of the Arctic region “have nothing to do with reality.”

The statement follows last week's breakthrough maritime border deal with Norway.

Scientists are also working to provide arguments about the length of the Arctic shelf for an international forum in Moscow. The event will be held on Wednesday and Thursday and focus on balancing interests in the region.

As for Russia’s strategic presence in the Antarctic, the issue will be submitted for discussion to the Cabinet on Thursday, said the head of the Federal Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring Service on Monday.