"I would characterize it [the relationship] as collaborative and collegial," Zukunft said.
As an example of the successful cooperation, Zukunft described a situation that occurred last week.
"Russia alerted us to a ship that might be involved in illegally transshipping fish caught in Russia to be sold elsewhere. We boarded that ship on behalf of Russia. We provided them results," he explained. "If the vessel was in violation we would have impounded the ship and the catch. But we are sharing that information real time between our Coast Guard district in Alaska and with Russia."
In March, the US Coast Guard announced that the United States, Russia and six other Arctic states inked a joint statement agreeing to cooperate in emergency maritime responses and other combined operations in the Arctic. In addition, the countries agreed to hold a live exercise in the Arctic later in the year.
US relations with Russia have been in decline following Washington’s accusations of Russian involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. Moscow has repeatedly refuted the allegations.