Russia’s war strains Arctic Council as 7 member nations call Ukraine attack ‘flagrant violation’ of values

Drift ice camp in the middle of the Arctic Ocean as seen from the deck of icebreaker XueLong, July 2010.
Drift ice camp in the middle of the Arctic Ocean as seen from the deck of icebreaker XueLong, July 2010. (Creative Commons photo by Timo Palo)

The United States and six other member nations of the Arctic Council are boycotting talks in Russia and will pause all international meetings to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The core principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, based on international law, have long underpinned the work of the Arctic Council, a forum which Russia currently chairs,” Thursday’s joint statement reads. “In light of Russia’s flagrant violation of these principles, our representatives will not travel to Russia for meetings of the Arctic Council.”

The statement also says the seven member states are “pausing participation in all meetings of the Council and its subsidiary bodies” until it can figure out how to continue the council’s work “in view of the current circumstances.”

It’s an unprecedented development for the Arctic Council. It formed in 1996 with the idea that the Arctic should be a zone of peace and cooperation. Now, Russia’s war in Europe is spilling over into the region.

The seven countries are Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the United States. The eight member nation is Russia, which is in the middles of a two-year rotating chairmanship. The next meeting of senior Arctic Council leaders was supposed to be in May in Arkhangelsk, a city in Russia’s western Arctic.

Alaska Public Media

Alaska Public Media is our partner station in Anchorage. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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