- Posted December 4, 2013 by
Russia should retain and utilize its position in the Arctic not only for economic but also for security reasons and to preserve its national identity and integrity, the Russian President has announced.
“As for the Arctic, there are not only large economic interests for the country – a huge amount of mineral resources, oil and gas,” Vladimir Putin said in a meeting with Russian students on Tuesday. “But there lies a very important part of our defense capabilities.”
In particular, the Russian leader cited an example of the Northern fleet that patrols adjacent waters.
“Experts know too well that the flying time of American rockets from Barents Sea to Moscow is 15-16 minutes. So what should we do – give up the Arctic? We, on the contrary, have to utilize it!”
At the same time Putin noted that he does not want to “escalate” the tensions over the Arctic. “I generally proceed from the fact that we will never have any conflicts on such global scale, especially with such countries as the United States. On the contrary, we need to develop cooperation, partnership.”
“But still the [American] boats are there, and rockets are mounted,” Putin reminded the audience.
Speaking about the situation in the Arctic, the President agreed that there were many long-standing problems, that did not emerge “just yesterday.”
“You've probably seen it in the media – a huge number of barrels, metal waste, tractors” left from the Soviet era, Putin said, adding that the cleanup of the region is under way for the first time in 30-50 years. “So here we need to talk about how we should better manage the Arctic.”
“But talking about divesting a territory?” the president wondered. “When I see statements of this kind, it is either people who are conducting self-PR campaigns, insensible of what they do; unscrupulous observers, or people who serve the interests of other states.
Putin was apparently referring to an episode in October this year when the leader of the Russian Communists, Gennadiy Zyuganov, told a party plenum that calls for a breakup of the Russian Federation are inspired by the ‘Imperial West’ and should be punished by a jail term. According to Zyuganov, Russia is facing a new wave of colonization and the attempts to cause strife between Russia’s numerous peoples and ethnic groups were a part of that major plan.
The Russian Constitution explicitly says that the State shall ensure the territorial integrity of the country, Putin reminded. “Therefore, any statements about any rejection of territories of the Russian Federation are unconstitutional. Regarding the responsibility, you shouldn’t go too far or underestimate the harm that statements of this kind cause.”
Courtsey : RT