Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski says increasing political hostilities between the U.S. and Russia could have a deep impact on natural resources in the Arctic region, the Daily Caller reports
The multinational Arctic Council
is set to meet next week as the U.S. takes the lead amid revived tensions with Russia, which has ramped up military efforts in the Arctic region, the Caller reports.
Still, Murkowski expressed hope that the two nations could join in both of their best interests.
"I do think there are opportunities where we can be working together," Murkowski said during a Friday appearance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
"I'm also very cautious in recognizing that the political tensions [between Russia and the U.S.] perhaps erode a little bit of the desire for greater reliance and cooperation," she said.
Russia continues to push the limit on military activities in the region, Sputnik News reported.
"In March 2015, Russia's Northern Fleet took part in exercises to test Russia's defense capability in the Arctic. The exercises included some 76,000 servicemen, 65 warships, 15 submarines, 16 auxiliary ships, and over 10,000 combat and support vehicles," Sputnik News reported
Murkowski, in an interview with Sputnik News, said those drills, which include air intercepts by the U.S., should raise deep concerns. But she cautioned against a hasty response, noting her hopes that the Arctic could become a "zone for peace" for both nations.
"What we are seeing again is Russia pushing the envelope," Murkowski said. "I think we need to back it up in our words … through our leadership, through our diplomats, through our State Department we can be sending a pretty clear message."
Earlier this month, Admiral William Gortney, who heads the Canada-U.S. NORAD program and Northern Command, spoke at a Pentagon news conference and noted the desire for a future plan to urge Canada to upgrade missile detection sensors in the Arctic, RT.com reported
"We're just now bringing it up through our policy leaders as well as with the Canadian government," Gortney said of the proposal.
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