Zakharova: Russia Will Continue to Implement Projects as Part of Arctic Council

Russia will continue to implement projects within the framework of the Arctic Council with an emphasis on the Russian regions, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in comments on the decision of the council’s member countries to resume activities on its projects without Russia’s participation. “For its part, Russia, as the undisputed main factor in the Arctic and the current chairman of the Arctic Council, consistently continues to implement projects that our country has initiated with an emphasis on the Russian regions, which aim to promote the sustainable socioeconomic development of our Arctic zone, improve the well-being of all its inhabitants, including indigenous peoples, collaborate to preserve the unique Arctic ecosystems that affect the health of our planet, protect the interests and rights of the indigenous peoples of the Arctic, promote contacts through young people, develop cultural ties, and create a humanitarian space in the Arctic,” Zakharova said in a statement posted on the website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On 8 June 2022, the Arctic Council’s western countries – Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Norway, the United States, Finland, and Sweden – issued a joint statement about their intention to resume the council’s activities on its projects without Russia’s participation. On 3 March, all the Arctic Council member states, except for Russia, issued a written statement declaring their refusal to take part in meetings held as part of Russia’s chairmanship and on Russian territory. Zakharova said this rapid change in their decisions indicates that “attempts to isolate Russia in the Arctic are illusory, and our Western partners are trying to grasp at any ideas in order to create the impression that they have some kind of independent role in Arctic affairs.” Zakharova described this policy by Western countries in the Arctic as politicized, flawed, and not conducive to solving problems that affect the fate of all mankind. Russia is the chair of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023. The country’s comprehensive programme for its chairmanship involves promoting international cooperation in such priority areas as the population of the Arctic, including indigenous peoples, environmental protection, socioeconomic development as well as strengthening the Arctic Council itself. More than 100 events are planned to be held as part of Russia’s programme, and roughly 40 events have taken place so far. The Roscongress Foundation organizes the events of Russia’s chairmanship in the Arctic Council. Reference information: Official social media accounts of Russia’s chairmanship in the Arctic Council: VKontakte: Twitter: Telegram: Weibo: WeChat ID: arcticonofficial