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Polar Perspectives No. 14 | Sanctions, Shipping, and Sabotage: China and Russia Enter the 'Gray Zone' in the Baltic Sea

Cover Photo of Polar Perspectives 14
Cover Photo of Polar Perspectives 14

What occurred this fall in the Baltic Sea has not been deemed to be a military act or an act of terrorism against any single state. But it is certainly a willfully malevolent and unlawful deed, intended to harm vulnerable underwater infrastructure and to disrupt vital civilian and commercial operations. Such a “limited” attack is not likely to trigger NATO Treaty’s Article 5. Yet, especially if Beijing or Moscow were culpable of machinating the Sino-Russian business cluster or mandating the damage, NATO must offer a strong response to maintain credibility and deter future subversion.

In Polar Perspectives No. 14, Dr. Kristina Spohr analyzes the recent subsea pipe andcable ruptures in the Baltic Sea and their impact on geopolitics.

About the Author

Kristina Spohr

Kristina Spohr

Former Fellow;
Professor, London School of Economics and Political Sciences
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Polar Institute

Since its inception in 2017, the Polar Institute has become a premier forum for discussion and policy analysis of Arctic and Antarctic issues, and is known in Washington, DC and elsewhere as the Arctic Public Square. The Institute holistically studies the central policy issues facing these regions—with an emphasis on Arctic governance, climate change, economic development, scientific research, security, and Indigenous communities—and communicates trusted analysis to policymakers and other stakeholders.  Read more