The UK has unveiled a plan to increase its military presence in the Arctic region amid increasing security concerns in Europe, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
During a visit to Norway, British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace released a strategy document that outlines plans to protect critical infrastructure, and the interests of the country and its allies, in the region.
The strategy, named The UK’s Defence Contribution in the High North, will also seek to ensure freedom of navigation through international seas, and maintain a rule-based international system.
The UK will also invest in research and development to further develop defence capability for the region.
Secretary Wallace said: “The High North and the impact of climate change affects us all, whether we like it or not. The North Atlantic will always be the UK’s ‘home beat’, and so it is vital that we strengthen both our interoperability and our force integration with Nato and non-Nato partners in the region.”
A large-scale military exercise called Cold Response 2022 is currently underway in northern Norway.
It involves approximately 35,000 participants from 28 countries, including 2,000 personnel from the UK. Secretary Wallace also met with the participants during his visit.
Norwegian-led Cold Response 2022 involves a variety of military drills on land, air, and at sea that will help the participating troops to hone their operating skills in extreme and rugged environments.
Last week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced additional military support for Ukraine. The package will include 6,000 new defensive missiles, and financial assistance for the Ukrainian military.