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MOSCOW, December 4 (RIA Novosti) - Russia risks losing its sovereignty by the mid-21st century if it does not assert its national interests in the Arctic today, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Tuesday.
“It is extremely important for us to stake out our claims, define the perimeter of our national interests in this [Arctic] region,” he said.
“If we don’t do that we will lose the battle for resources and therefore will lose the big battle for the right to have our own sovereignty and independence.”
He warned that toward the middle of the 21st century the struggle for natural resources will start acquiring “utterly uncivilized forms,” including the presence of NATO warships along the Northern Sea Route ostensibly to protect civilian shipping and navigation.
“That is an attempt to destroy the international formats that ensure cooperation and security in the Arctic zone,” he said.
“Two-thirds of the aggregate wealth of the Arctic is created in Russia,” Rogozin said, referring to the share of value added by Russian extractive companies operating in the region.
Russian senior military officials previously warned against the danger of NATO ships armed with missile defense systems entering northern seas in proximity to Russian borders.
Russia has officially set the goal of deploying a combined-arms force by 2020, including military, border, and coastal guard units, to protect its political and economic interests in the Arctic and boost Russia’s military security.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.