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Russia: We don’t want the Arctic to become arena of conflict

‘Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov attempted to dampen the escalating rhetoric around the Arctic, after his Canadian counterpart said his country was ready “to protect its sovereignty” in the resource-rich region.

“The Arctic shouldn’t be dragged into the rhetoric of militarization,” the Russian official said during a Q & A at the Seliger youth forum in central Russia.

“There are accusations flying about that we are trying to make a land-grab during a latter-day gold rush. This is nonsense. We don’t want the Arctic to become an arena of conflict.”

Lavrov’s answer was a response to comments attributed to Canada’s foreign minister John Baird, who told Denmark’s Berlingske newspaper earlier this week that Ottawa was “determined to promote and defend the sovereignty of Canada in the Arctic” in the face of the Russian threat, manifested in the reactivation of a Soviet-era base off its north-eastern coast, and fly-bys by Russian aircraft.’

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