Northeastern passage is still open, but should be reported in advance

Russia demands that navy will get clearance first

Moscow should be informed in advance could foreign naval vessels intend to cross the northeastern passage, the sea route along the Russian north coast of Siberia. This is what a senior defense official in Moscow, Michael Mizintsev, said, reports the Russian news agency Sputnik.

With new legislation, the Kremlin says that it wants “a legal vacuum” over the shorter but hard to navigate sea route between Europe and the Far East. For the time being, the route was not widely used, because it is located so far north that it was free of ice for no more than two months per year.

Now there is a change in global warming, that route is now much longer open than was previously the case. For Russia this has advantages for trade, but the country also sees a disadvantage looming. What Russia do not want is for everybody to go there, especially military ships.

The problem for Russia with this plan is that it mainly concerns international waters. Legally, the country has little to say about this, and it can not force other countries to report any passage of naval vessels. The question is also how many countries want to make use of this passage.

But apart from that, this fits into the plan of Russia to extend the sphere of influence further to the north – including the Arctic, where scientific research centers have already been set up, and Russia is working on a military base – they want part of the Arctic for themselves.

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