"Some developed countries that do not have direct access to the Arctic Circle are taking certain political and military steps to gain such access," Sergei Shoigu said at a meeting with senior military commanders in Moscow.
Therefore, Russia considers its permanent military presence in the Arctic and the possibility of protecting national interests in the region with military means as part of its national security policy, the minister added.
The Arctic region has long been the subject of international attention for its national resources and shipping potential, with ice loss enabling further exploration of petroleum reserves and opening new and shorter shipping routes.
The five Arctic coastal states, namely Russia, Canada, Norway, the United States through Alaska, and Denmark through Greenland, are limited to their exclusive economic zones of 200 nautical miles.
Russia’s revised military doctrine, signed by President Vladimir Putin in December 2014, for the first time ever named the protection of national interests in the Arctic among the main priorities for its armed forces in times of peace.