Tag Archives: Arctic cold war

RUSSIAN MISSILE TEST NEAR SVALBARD, CONCERN IN AREA’S RUSSIAN/UKRAINIAN COMMUNITIES AS INVASION UNDERWAY: Residents express hopelessness; governor plans to ’carry on’

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Photo from the frigate Admiral Gorshkov firing a test missile Saturday just east of Bjornøya from video by the Russian Defense Ministry

Among Russia’s many military maneuvers while preparing to invade Ukraine this week was testing a new hypersonic missile in waters bordering southeast Svalbard, whose residents are long-familiar with Vladimir Putin’s provocations and aggressions in trying to expand his zone of influence in the Arctic.

And similar to the rest of the world watching Russia’s rush to war in dismay, the sizeable population of Svalbard’s Russian and Ukrainian residents – many of whom have permanent homes in the Ukrainian provinces Putin is declaring “liberated” – are expressing concern mixed with a hopelessness that such feelings from afar can have any impact.

SOLIDIFYING THE LAND, STIRRING UP THE WATERS: Expert says Russia will boost peaceful activities in Svalbard such as tourism and research, increase military provocation at sea

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Photo of Lenin bust in Barentsburg by Wikimedia Commons

“Russia isn’t about to annex Svalbard,” but is planning a hostile takeover of sorts in the waters surrounding it, according to a polar geopolics expert.

That means in addition to boosting its archipelago activities such as tourism and research, there will be more “sabre rattling” in the form of warships sailing closer, louder diplomatic protests and other actions while remaining inside the boundaries of the Svalbard Treaty.

RUSSIA ACCUSES NORWAY OF ‘HIDDEN MILITARIZATION’ OF SVALBARD: Recent visit by Navy ship to archipelago part of provocative ongoing military development, ministry alleges

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Photo of the KNM Thor Heyerdahl docked in Longyearbyen in late October by the Norwegian Navy

Norwegian military ships visiting Svalbard are a regular, if not frequent, occurrence and legal as long as it’s for “non-war” purposes. But Russia is calling a voyage by a Navy vessel in October part of Norway’s ongoing efforts to develop military infrastructure in the archipelago in violation of the Svalbard Treaty’s intent.

Norway maintains the voyage is just business as usual – and Russia has faced plenty of accusations of illegal and/or provocative military activities in Svalbard and elsewhere in the Arctic.

MISSILES LOADED FOR BEAR: Warning issued for Russian multiple-missile test in international waters just south of Bjørnøya, in response to U.S. deploying bombers to Norway

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Russia is planning to express its “dissatisfaction” with the U.S. deploying Air Force bombers to Norway for the first time by conducting a multiple-missile test sometime during the next week with the impact area in a block of open sea just south of Bjørnøya, according to official and media reports.

The test in what’s classified as the “bear gap” by Western defense entities is scheduled between Feb. 18-24, according to a “notice to airman” warning issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

CHINA BUYING HURTIGRUTEN – LEGIT POSSIBILITY OR NOT? A columnist set off a media firestorm by declaring it a ‘realistic scenario,’ but is it just idle clickbait speculation?

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An analyst snagged national headlines Thursday by suggesting China might buy Hurtigruten in the wake of the company’s COVID-19 scandal in an effort to further the country’s goal of establishing a major presence in Svalbard. Such a presence, along with that of countries like Russia, has for years been among Norway’s top security worries – but is the columnist offering a legitimate scenario or merely clickbait?

On one hand, we’ve been here before with China and large purchases in recent years, and it ended up being it ended up being something of a joke. On the other, another author who’s a foremost expert on Svalbard and Arctic conflicts declares “Hurtigruten will be sold, sooner or later” – although he suggests Russia might be the country more ideally suited to make a Svalbard power play.

MILITARY OR MEDIA – WHO’S THE AGENT PROVOCATEUR? Russia blasts report of its special forces in Svalbard as ‘fake news’

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One thing’s certain: somebody’s committing what is being called a “gross provocation” involving illegal military might in Svalbard. The question is whether it involves actual military – specifically, Russian special forces supposedly occupying Svalbard and mainland Norway recently – or the news organization falsely reporting the latest in a series of stories about simulated invasions of the archipelago.

RUSSIA EASILY CONQUERS SVALBARD, YET AGAIN: Had this been an actual invasion you wouldn’t be reading this since SvalSat and subsea communications were among targets

A daring, well-organized and tech-savvy mass of Russia military might asserted its vast superiority against its northern Norwegian neighbors by easily conquering the disputed territory of Svalbard

OK, in what’s become roughly akin to the latest release in a paperback techo-thriller series, that part of the narrative is predictable. So this year’s plot highlights achievements such as attacking the archipelago’s all-important communications facilities, keeping people here and helpful military folks elsewhere from being able to do much of anything useful.

Svalbard Daily Planet for the week of Aug. 4-10, 2019

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Ukraine joins non-Arctic nations seeking a strong presence in Svalbard to Russia’s outrage, Svalbard Bryggeri debuts a seriously watered-down beverage, why the seed vault isn’t an ideal place to go bananas and other recent headlines about Svalbard from the global mainstream media.

Deadly European snowpocalypse, Russian GPS jamming, oil drilling fiascos – here’s how Svalbard’s non-disaster storm made disaster news elsewhere

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It wasn’t just locals blowing it when it came to worries about last wind’s wind storm. It somehow showed up in global stories about storms in Europe that killed at least 26 people, fears about Mother Nature’s wrath as Norway’s government strives for “peak oil” in a few years and Russia allegedly jamming crucial GPS signals during the storm.

SVALBARD’S 10 STRANGEST STORIES OF 2018: Russians linked to polar bear porn video connected to Trump meltdown while Norway’s royal family gets trashed

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Pretty much all of the news in Svalbard is strange compared to anywhere else.