Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, commenting on the statement by the U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, stated to the journalists that the Northern Sea Route is a national traffic artery, and Russia will ensure its safety.
"We [with Pompeo] did not discuss the Northern Sea Route. The Northern Sea Route is the Russian national artery. As a coastal state, we are fully responsible for the safety of the operation of this route in full compliance with international law. Just as Canadians are responsible for the functioning of the Northwest Passage “, said the minister.
“We will do everything to ensure that the movement of foreign ships is in full compliance with the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea, that it is carried out in full compliance with all international legal norms, and that it is absolutely safe. This is our responsibility,” he added.
Earlier, Pompeo, speaking at a minister’s level meeting of the Arctic Council in Rovaniemi, expressed concern about the plans to connect the Northern Sea Route with the Chinese Sea Silk Route. In addition, he called the Russian Federation requirements for foreign vessels to request permission to pass through the Russian section of the Arctic transport artery illegal. Pompeo called strengthening of Russia’s northern borders "a model of aggressive behavior."