US State Department considers Russia’s Arctic presence justified
The US State Department's Special Representative for the Arctic, Admiral Robert Papp, said Russia's strengthening position in the Arctic is justified. When addressing the House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Joint Subcommittee hearings on Security, Economic and Research Opportunities, Papp said the United States should follow this example rather than accuse Moscow of militarization.
"I don't see it as militarization. I think you can pick certain aspects of what they are doing and trumpet them as militarizing the Arctic, but I had a chance to watch this and what I think they are doing is, in most cases, some reasonable things in terms of being prepared for providing security along a sea route that is increasing in traffic," Papp said.
He said his staff is monitoring Russia's activity in the Arctic properly. Papp said he wished that many of the things the Russians were doing, the United States were doing as well along the northern slopes of Alaska in terms of preparing infrastructure for future human activity.
"We see a country [Russia] that is concerned about the security of a developing waterway, that is re-establishing facilities, airfields and bases, along the coastline that encompasses almost half of the Arctic," Papp said.