Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Russia opposes militarization of Arctic – defense ministry

Russia opposes militarization of Arctic, said Irina Kovalchuk, press secretary of Russian defense minister citing Anatoly Serdiukov. 

The minister held a meeting with his Danish counterpart Gitte Lillelung Beck on Tuesday in Moscow. "The parties exchanged views on situation in Arctic. Russia is against militarization of the region and considers there's no need in significant military presence in Arctic", said Mrs. Kovalchuk. 

Russia, USA, Canada, Denmark, and Norway claim to Arctic territories. According to scientists, over 25% of world oil and gas resources are located in Arctic. The dispute became strained several years ago when a Russian scientific research expedition left Murmansk and headed for the North Pole to explore the Arctic shelf. 
Russian defense minister offered to develop military cooperation amid Arctic states and conduct collective activities, primarily those related with assistance in crisis situations. 

The parties discussed a number of political and military problems in Europe – prospects of Russia-NATO military cooperation; issues of ballistic missile defense deployment in Europe; anti-piracy campaign near the Horn of Africa; situation in Afghanistan; modernization of armed forces. 

Development prospects of Russian-Danish military cooperation were discussed at the meeting as well. According to Serdiukov, contacts between the defense ministries are very important. 

"We seek to expand the exchange of experience in military reforms which are in progress in both countries", added the minister. As for him, the most interesting is Denmark's views on logistic and medical support. 

According to event list of cooperation between Russian and Danish defense ministries, in 2011 there will be exchange of delegations, mutual calls of warships at Russian and Danish ports, and joint PASSEX naval drills. 

Serdiukov also said Russia was ready to expand mutual education program, and send Russian servicemen to study in Danish education institutions. In particular, Russia seeks to study training process of military units planned to be dispatched to Afghanistan, pointed out the minister. 

In the end of the meeting the ministers signed memorandum of cooperation between Russian and Danish defense ministries. In accordance with the document, it is planned to develop and carry out exchange of experience in military organization; training of armed forces; discussing and sharing views on anti-terror and anti-piracy operations, and other issues of mutual interest.
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