NATO Secretary General to Canadian Prime Minister: Russia becomes a new strategic challenge

New news, Ottawa – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday (08/26) that Russia’s capabilities in the North pose a new challenge for NATO.

Stoltenberg said he was set to welcome Canadian investment in the North American defense system recently.

“The great importance of the North increases for NATO and Canada as we witness a major Russian military upgrade,” Stoltenberg said while standing next to Prime Minister Trudeau in Cold Lake, Alta. Reuters.

Stoltenberg said Russia is known to reopen hundreds of Soviet-era military sites in the Arctic, using the region to test new weapons systems.

Stoltenberg also warned that Russia and China were forming an Arctic strategic partnership that challenges NATO values ​​and interests.

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Canada has been criticized for spending too little on its military capabilities as a member of NATO.

But after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Canada announced in June that it would invest C$4.9 billion ($3.8 billion) over the next six years to modernize NORAD. , the joint North American defense organization of the United States and Canada.

“The geopolitical situation has changed over the past few months, so understanding that Russia is a growing concern for all of us makes it timely to share with the Secretary General and with NATO all that Canada is doing through the NORAD,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau and Stoltenberg traveled Thursday to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, a hamlet above the Arctic Circle where an air defense radar post is located. It is part of the NORAD Northern Alert System, which experts say is in dire need of modernization.

The system, which is more than six decades old, detects security threats in North America, and the early warning radar for the polar regions dates back to the late 1980s.

Trudeau and Stoltenberg agree that climate change is making the Arctic more accessible to economic and military activity, increasing security concerns.

Cambridge Bay is one of the main ports of call for ships traversing the Arctic Ocean Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The United States has disputed Canada’s sovereignty over the passage for decades, saying it is an international waterway.

Asked about the issue of sovereignty on Friday, Trudeau said: “The Northwest route is in Canadian waters. Indicate.”

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