On hiatus since Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea, the Arctic Chiefs of Defense Forum – less Russia – convened in St. John’s, Canada, on August 8, to discuss cooperation among the nations. Russia indicated in January it wanted to resume these meetings after assuming its second two-year chair of the Arctic Council last year. This was short-circuited by their March invasion of Ukraine, which caused all the non-Russian members of the Council to issue a joint statement suspending participation in the Council.
It is unclear that Russian participation in the Forum would have any utility, and in fact it could actually be counterproductive as Russia would use the Forum to attempt to normalize its extralegal behavior, both in the Arctic and elsewhere.
Canadian Chief of the Defence Staff, General Wayne Eyr, stated after the meeting, “We will continue to work closely with our allies and partners in strengthening our domain awareness, surveillance, and command and control capabilities through a wide range of initiatives in the Arctic, including modernizing NORAD, improving the CAF’s capabilities, mobility and presence in the North, and increasing our participation in multinational exercises in the region.”