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Russia charges US with seeking ‘dominance’ in Arctic

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star cuts through Antarctic ice in the Ross Sea near a large group of seals as the ship’s crew creates a navigation channel for supply ships, Jan. 16, 2017. The resupply channel is an essential part of the yearly delivery of essential supplies to the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Russia’s ambassador to Denmark on April 27 accused the United States of pursuing a “policy of confrontation” in the Arctic region in a bid to “achieve dominance.”

Ambassador Vladimir Barbin’s comments to the Danish daily Politiken came days after Washington announced a $12.1 million economic-aid package for Greenland, which is an autonomous region of the Kingdom of Denmark.

Washington also announced plans to reopen its Consulate in Nuuk, Greenland’s capital. That office was closed in 1953.

Barbin also objected to a recent statement by U.S. Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands, who described Russia’s activity in the Arctic region as “aggressive” and an obstacle to the West’s efforts to promote peaceful development.

The United States has “a sick attitude to the large-scale investment projects of other states, as well as the advancement of various conspiracy theories and conjectures regarding the economic activities in the Arctic of other states,” Barbin said.

In recent years, the vast but sparsely populated Greenland has been a focus of attention amid Russian and Chinese commercial and military buildups in the region. The Arctic has seen an opening of new sea lanes due to climate change, which has spurred commercial and military rivalry.

U.S. President Donald Trump suggested last year that the United States would consider buying Greenland from Denmark. That suggestion was immediately rejected by Denmark.

Greenland is strategically important to the U.S. military and its ballistic-missile early warning system.