SPECIAL REPORT – NATO’s Arctic dilemma: Two visions of the Arctic collide as NATO and Russia flex muscles

Spanish Frigate Cristobal Colon, French Naval Ship Latouche-Tréville and Turkish Naval Ship Oruceis sail ahead of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Ville De Québec while near the coast of Norway during Exercise Trident Juncture on October 26, 2018. (Master Cpl. Andre Maillet/MARPAC Imaging Services)
Rising tensions with Russia are forcing NATO to once again train its military forces to confront a large and well-armed opponent in northern Europe and possibly even in the Arctic.

In late October and early November 2018, the alliance conducted massive war games in and around Norway, NATO’s largest exercise since the end of the Cold War.

But as the exercise code-named Trident Juncture showed, NATO and Norway have to perform a fine balancing act between deterring aggressive Russian behaviour and provoking a further build-up of Russian forces on Norway’s border and in the Arctic.

In the meantime, a small Norwegian town on the Russian border is betting its future on developing cross-border cooperation and becoming a vital hub on a new trans-Arctic route connecting Russia and China to Western Europe.

Levon Sevunts

Levon Sevunts, Radio Canada International

Born and raised in Armenia, Levon started his journalistic career in 1990, covering wars and civil strife in the Caucasus and Central Asia. In 1992, after the government in Armenia shut down the TV program he was working for, Levon immigrated to Canada. He learned English and eventually went back to journalism, working first in print and then in broadcasting. Levon’s journalistic assignments have taken him from the High Arctic to Sahara and the killing fields of Darfur, from the streets of Montreal to the snow-capped mountaintops of Hindu Kush in Afghanistan. He says, “But best of all, I’ve been privileged to tell the stories of hundreds of people who’ve generously opened up their homes, refugee tents and their hearts to me.”

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