NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg issued the warning on Friday. He said: “We realise that the importance of the High North is increasing for NATO and for Canada. Because we see a significant Russian military build-up, with new bases, new weapons system, and also using the High North as a testbed for their most advanced weapons including hypersonic missiles.”
The comments came during a press conference held with NATO and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Reacting to Mr Stoltenberg’s warning, PhD in International Relations at the University of Oxford Samuel Ramani said: “NATO sounds the alarm about Russia’s Arctic policy.”
President Trudeau and Mr Stoltenberg spoke about Russia setting up a new Arctic Command.
Mr Stoltenberg said: “It has opened hundreds of new and former Soviet-era Arctic military sites, Including airfields and deep-water ports.
“Russia is also using the region as a test-bed for many of its novel weapon systems.
“China is also expanding its reach. It has declared itself a ‘near Arctic’ state, plans to build the world’s largest icebreaker, and is investing tens of billions of dollars in energy, infrastructure, and research projects in the High North.
“Beijing and Moscow have also pledged to intensify practical cooperation in the Arctic. This forms part of a deepening strategic partnership that challenges our values and interests.”
As a result, NATO has established a new command for the Atlantic, with allies including Canada.
The allies are regularly conducting Arctic exercises, including Canada’s Operation Nanook.
NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) is an organisation that provides protection for Canada and the United States.
Putin’s presence in the area is causing concern for NATO and NORAD, resulting in an increased response.
Mr Stoltenberg said NATO was planning on “modernising NORAD” and introducing “different exercises up in the High North”.
There were exercises held this year with armed forces from the US, France and Denmark taking part.