Arctic News Roundup: 25 April – 1 May

l-r: Pekka Haavisto (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Finland) with Ann Linde (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sweden) and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, April 2022 [Photo via NATO]

by Mingming Shi

1) As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the security policies of both Sweden and Finland, which traditionally had supported neutrality, have moved towards potentially joining NATO in the short term, a decision which is increasingly supported by people in both states. As Reuters reported, the Government of Sweden decided not to call a referendum on the question of NATO membership. Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson defended this decision on the grounds of needing to observe confidentiality on matters of national security. However, some politicians have argued that the Swedish people should also have a say in this decision. 

2) An essay in the journal Foreign Affairs was published by former Swedish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, who argued that the time had come for his country, along with Finland to join NATO in light of Russia’s attack against Ukraine and threats to European security. While noting that Sweden had a long history of armed neutrality, the piece argued that it was no longer advisable for the country to stay outside of NATO, and that Northern European security cooperation as a whole would benefit from the swift addition of both Finland and Sweden.

3) Time magazine offered a video essay on the effects in Alaska of climate change from the viewpoint of a local Iñupiat author. As the report explains, warmer temperatures, rain replacing snow, and the loss of sea ice has had a profound effect on local traditions in the region.

4) The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), supervised by NASA and based at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech), reported that parallel ice ridges of similar type have been found in both Greenland and on Europa, one of the larger moons orbiting Jupiter. The discovery suggests that this moon may be a prime candidate to harbour life, despite its far greater distance from the sun. NASA is planning on sending a probe to monitor Europa in late 2024.

5) A number of European governments have expelled Russian diplomats after the war broke out in Ukraine in February, and Moscow has also taken similar retaliatory measures in this regard, including expelling personnel from the embassies of Norway and Sweden in Moscow, according to The Barents Observer