Russian Ambassador-at-large for Arctic Cooperation Nikolay Korchunov told Sputnik on Sunday that the Arctic region has turned into an international theater of military operations since Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership.

Helsinki and Stockholm handed over their applications for NATO membership to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday.

“We are seeing an increase in international military activity in polar latitudes. There is the internationalization of military activities. The transformation of the Arctic region into an international theater of military operations is, of course, a very disturbing trend. We cannot but be concerned about this,” Korchunov said, commenting on the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO.

“The policy of non-alignment to military alliances, the traditional policy of Sweden and Finland, has long provided a solid basis for maintaining peace and stability in polar latitudes. The possible accession of these countries to NATO is unlikely to contribute to this goal,” the ambassador said.