Russia’s focus on NATO exercises in the Arctic is natural since Moscow has no intention of allowing Alliance dominance in the region, said Russian Senator Frants Klintsevich.
Earlier, Dutch Navy Marine Commandant Jeff Mac Mootry had stated that Russian warships and airplanes attempted to provoke British and Dutch forces in the course of NATO maneuvers in the Arctic.
According to the general, the number of Russian warships has increased significantly compared to the past decades. In addition, he said, Russian aircraft began to fly too close to NATO ships. He called such actions “provocations.”
“Being an Arctic power, Russia has its strategic interests in the region, which it will firmly defend, strictly according to international law. Therefore, it is very clear and natural our attention to the exercises of the Alliance in the Arctic, let no one doubt: Russia will never allow NATO rule in the region,” Klintsevich was quoted as saying by his press service.
According to the Russian senator, the statement of the Dutch general is not linked in any way to the guarantee of security in the Arctic. “It is yet another attempt to demonize Russia. I can only regret that even the regular Western military has begun to engage in politicization,” added Frants Klintsevich.
Also commenting on the news, Russian military analyst Igor Korotchenko stressed that Russia strictly complies with all rules during its military actions.
For him, the speech of the Dutch general is part of an information war against Russia.
“Russia has been accusing Russia of being in a state of information war with Russia,” he said, adding that the United States, Britain and other Western countries have joined the Netherlands. This is apparently another exaggeration [of anti-Russian rhetoric],” Korotchenko said.
According to the analyst, when Russian military follow trajectories close to foreign forces, Moscow meets all the rules to avoid incidents, so “the Dutch accusations are invented, being part of that information war that the country would be locking with Russia.”
Former Baltic Fleet Commander Vladimir Valuev shares the analyst’s view, noting that Russian forces are maneuvering in accordance with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (RIPEAM-72) established in 1972.
According to this regulation, no one may prohibit Russia from performing maneuvers in the airspace and in open water. If a ship crosses the path of another ship at a distance shorter than that indicated in the regulation, then that incident is recorded and if no such incident is recorded, then [the allegations] are mere rumors,” the military official said.
In late September, British Defense Ministry chief Gavin Williamson announced a new British defense strategy in the Arctic drafted mostly in reaction to the alleged threat from Russian submarines in the Far North and North Atlantic.