Navigating Breakup: Security realities of freezing politics and thawing landscapes in the Arctic

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The Arctic  Security policy  Climate
Written by

Mike Sfraga

Distinguished Fellow, Wilson Center

Pavel K. Baev

Research Professor, PRIO

Troy J. Bouffard

Director, CASR

Marc Lanteigne

Associate Professor, UiT

Marisol Maddox

Senior Arctic Analyst, Wilson Center

Jan-Gunnar Winther

Specialist Director Norwegian Polar Institute


Russia’s re-invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has had immediate and ongoing effects for Arctic security and cooperative governance at both a regional and international level. The region is impacted by the increased sanctions, the withdrawal of Western companies from Russia, the Western disconnect from energy dependencies, and has also witnessed an increase in hybrid security incidents.  In addition, climate change continues at to change the environment at a staggering pace in the north.

This report is an input to the Arctic Security Roundtable (ASR) and the Munich Security Conference, February 2023. It provides insights into both established and novel drivers of change in Arctic and security governance. Chapters cover the impacts of climate change on the physical environment, human security and the Arctic region’s military operational environment, and review the regional security policies of the three major powers (USA, China and Russia).

The report argues leaders must continue to address Arctic governance challenges and take concrete steps to mitigate and manage risks, regardless of the cessation of cooperation with Russia and the radical uncertainty shaping the broader political environment.