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oli_putinMilitary presence in the Arctic should not be a reality, a senior Russian diplomat has claimed. At the The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue international forum, held in Arkhangelsk last week the issue was raised.

"We do not see problems [in the Arctic] that could lead to the use of force, and we do not see the need to place military-political blocs there," said Anton Vasilyev, ambassador-at-large on Arctic issues at the Russian Foreign Ministry., according to RIA Novosty.

"We have an efficient international treaty framework to resolve any potential conflicts [in the region]," Vasilyev added.

The idea of a "mini-NATO" in the Arctic region was a subject discussed at a summit of Northern European countries in London on January 19-20, 2011. The name refers to a proposed military bloc of Scandinavian countries, ex-Soviet Baltic republics and the United Kingdom, which many describe as the "response to Russian efforts in the north."

"So far this idea has not been followed by any practical development, but we are keeping an eye on the situation," the Russian diplomat said.