11 March 202117:03

Anti-Russian publication in NRC Handelsblad daily (Netherlands)

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We noticed an article in a major Dutch daily newspaper, the NRC Handelsblad, published on February 15, 2021. As if on cue, local media outlets are once again churning out publications on Russia’s military activities in the Arctic. The Dutch are speculating on the topic of Russia building up its military capacity in the Arctic region whilst praising their Scandinavian partners for their readiness to withstand the mythical Russian aggression. It was stated that the “Scandinavian quartet” (Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland) is concerned with the challenge allegedly thrown down by Moscow. Quoting sources from the said countries, the media outlet reports that Norwegian Defence Minister Frank Bakke Jensen proposed signing a collective treaty with Sweden and Finland on defence cooperation. It would seem like ”consolidation of efforts for a strong retaliation against the Russian army”.

So, what is happening in reality? Under the banner of “protecting security and legal interests,” NATO is seeking to strengthen its military presence and to contain Russia’s potential, including when it comes to developing the Arctic. This was expressly stated by senior officials of the alliance. The North Atlantic Alliance set eyes on the Arctic as an area for its long-term military plans and interests while the activities of the NATO member states in the Arctic region are increasingly becoming systemic and provocative thus transforming the Arctic into a ground of geopolitical competition.

In these circumstances, Russia’s efforts to reinforce its national security in the Arctic are obvious and understandable. We are drawing attention of our partners to the concerning expansion of NATO’s military activities in close proximity to the Russian borders. We have always stressed that we do not see any problems that would need a military solution in this region – and in Europe in general. We are fundamentally against confrontation and we support a constructive dialogue both in the bilateral format and between Russia and NATO. Russia has repeatedly sent the North Atlantic Alliance proposals with respect to normalising the situation, strengthening trust in this shared region, including proposals on moving military exercise grounds away from the “contact line” between Russia and the NATO countries.

The authors of this article could do with reviewing facts and Russia’s actual stance rather than spin doctors’ make-believe stories before they launched yet another spiral of anti-Russia hysteria.

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