Russia launches world’s largest nuclear-powered icebreakers . . .
Russia launched the world’s largest nuclear-powered icebreaker, Ural, on Saturday, expanding its fleet of vessels to open up Arctic shipping routes. Capable of breaking through ice three metres thick, the Ural is the third vessel in a trio that will enter service in 2022. The icebreakers are being deployed to support year-round commercial traffic through the Northern Sea Route. The launch comes on the heels of Russia completing its Radio-Electronic Shield, which is said to be able to jam short-wave communication throughout the Arctic region from thousands of kilometres away.
‘Near Arctic states’ heighten activities . . .
China, India, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea have all shown increased interest in the Artic in recent years. In 2013 all five Asian states were granted observer status on the Arctic Council and many have since developed Arctic strategies, committed resources, sent ships through Arctic waters, and developed Arctic-related research programs. Like China, some may partner with Russia as it takes the lead in the Arctic.
Canada’s Arctic ebb and flow . . .
Russia’s sustained interest in the Artic contrasts sharply with Canada’s ebb-and-flow commitment to the region. However, last week Canada filed its full submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf regarding its claim to sovereign territory in the Arctic Ocean. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also announced the purchase of two additional Arctic and offshore patrol ships for the Coast Guard. Canada should press forward in keeping Arctic-Asia relations front and centre, notably in engaging Indigenous peoples and organizations and focusing on environmental issues, scientific research, and infrastructure investment.
- Independent: Russia launches world’s largest nuclear-powered icebreaker to open up Arctic shipping routes
- The Moscow Times: Russian radio-electronic shield now covers the Arctic, officials say
- Inuit Circumpolar Council: ICC Canada commends Government of Canada for UNCLOS submission defining Arctic Canada’s extended continental shelf