Minister: The Arctic is a zone of interest for a number of countries
© RIA Novosti. Vladimir Astapkovich

Minister: The Arctic is a zone of interest for a number of countries

The Arctic attracts the attention of the world’s most powerful countries, Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic Alexei Chekunkov said at the Gaidar Forum on January 15.

“The Arctic has suddenly become the focus of attention for all humankind,” the minister noted.

He explained this by climate change, which no one disputes any longer. “The question is not whether the climate will become warmer, but how soon this will happen,” he pointed out.

The minister said he believed that the Arctic had become a zone of strategic interest for a number of states, including those located a great distance from the Arctic.

Alexei Chekunkov mentioned good prospects for increasing cargo transportation via the Northern Sea Route.

“Last year we transported 33 million metric tons [via the NSR]. We believe that the goal of 80 million metric tons can be achieved by 2025. This is not going to be easy, but we believe we can do this. We will have to work hard, but considering the icebreaker fleet we are building and the ice-class vessels the project initiators are building, we believe that transporting 80 million metric tons by 2025 and 130 million metric tons by 2035 are a realistic goal,” the minister noted.