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Canada might join AUKUS amid Arctic territorial threats

Several countries around the world, including those without direct access to the Arctic, claim the right to develop this resource-rich region. Experts predict that the Arctic will become not only a territory of political and economic confrontations, but also of armed clashes in the future, according to Navy Recognition.

Five countries have direct access to the Arctic: Russia, Canada, the United States, Norway and Denmark. Russia’s longest border was determined by the respective decrees of the President of Russia dated 2 May 2014 (maritime section) and 27 June 2027 (land territories) based on the resolution of the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR dated April 15, 1926.

However, there is no international treaty defining the legal status of the Arctic. The legal status of the Arctic territories is regulated by international law, the national legislation of the Arctic states and bilateral agreements.

Canada appears to be getting serious about defending its Arctic territories. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said April 8 during a visit to the Trenton naval base that Ottawa plans to purchase nuclear submarines to defend its Arctic coastline.

According to Trudeau, Canada is considering joining the AUKUS political-military alliance created in 2021 at the initiative of the United States. In addition to the US, it includes the UK and Australia.

It is certainly a question that we will examine to determine which type of submarine is best suited to meet Canada’s obligations for protecting the Arctic coasts.

The Canadian Navy’s submarine fleet, which is tasked with protecting the long Arctic border, currently consists of four slightly modernised British Victoria-class submarines manufactured in the 1950s and 60s. They were decommissioned by the British Navy between 1993 and 1994, before being acquired by Canada in 1998 and taken into service between 2000 and 2004.

Experts emphasise that the Canadian Armed Forces are not in the best condition now. Therefore, many questions arise in connection with the fact that a significant part of the defence budget will be spent precisely on the purchase of expensive submarines to defend against hypothetical future threats along the long Arctic border.

However, given that the nuclear submarines intended for the other AUKUS members are sold by the United States, it is possible that under pressure from its northern neighbour, Ottawa will give priority to the purchase of submarines.

The United States may not sell Canada new submarines, but, as in the case of the United Kingdom, get rid of old submarines equipped with Los Angeles-type nuclear power. These multipurpose submarines were in service with the US Navy from 1976 to 1996.

As a result, during a hypothetical military confrontation in the Arctic, these nuclear submarines will be encountered less frequently than modern warships. It is assumed that the US will once again make a favourable deal by forcing another ally to buy obsolete military equipment.

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