The impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine has been felt in the Arctic. The region’s primary diplomatic venue is paused, and military tensions are increasing. When Sweden and Finland join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), every Arctic country save Russia will be a member of the U.S.-led alliance. The war has not diminished Russia’s core economic and security interests in the region, but it has had some impact on its military readiness there in the short term, especially in terms of ground capabilities, if not at sea or in the air. In addition, there are some preliminary indications that sanctions and export controls may diminish Russia’s ability to deploy precision munitions to the Arctic to a degree. At the same time, Russia’s use of hybrid tactics in the region seems to be increasing in both frequency and severity. The United States and NATO will need to take stock of these developments in a region they have not historically prioritized as they begin to implement their new, respective strategies.
Brief: 'The Russian Arctic Threat: Consequences of the Ukraine War' - by Colin Wall and Njord Wegge, January 25, 2023