US to open diplomatic mission in Arctic Norway
© RIA Novosti. Eduard Pesov

US to open diplomatic mission in Arctic Norway

Three weeks after Norway took over the chairmanship of the Arctic Council from Russia, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the United States would open its northernmost diplomatic station in the Norwegian Arctic city of Tromsø.

“To deepen our engagement in the High North, I’m announcing today that the United States will be opening an American Presence Post in Tromsø,” Blinken told reporters after a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Oslo.

According to him, the region is becoming more strategically important, as the shrinking ice cap opens up new sea lanes and attracts other countries looking for its largely untapped natural resources.

“For us, the presence post in Tromsø is really an ability to have a diplomatic footprint above the Arctic Circle,” he said.

The mission will open later this year and will be staffed by one US diplomat.

Earlier, on May 29, large-scale exercises kicked off in Finland, Sweden and Norway with the participation of about 150 combat aircraft from Western countries, including the United States, Britain, Belgium and France. In these countries bordering Russia, air maneuvers will last almost two weeks.