Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday warned Western countries against staking claims in the Arctic ahead of this week's Arctic Council meeting in Reykjavik.
The Arctic in recent years has become the site of geopolitical competition between the countries that form the Arctic Council (Russia, the United States, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland) as global warming makes the region more accessible.
A ministerial meeting of the eight-country council will take place on Wednesday and Thursday.
"It has been absolutely clear for everyone for a long time that this is our territory, this is our land," Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow. "We are responsible for ensuring our Arctic coast is safe," he said.
"Let me emphasise once again -- this is our land and our waters," he added.
"But when Nato tries to justify its advance into the Arctic, this is probably a slightly different situation and here we have questions for our neighbours like Norway who are trying to justify the need for Nato to come into the Arctic."
The United States in February sent strategic bombers to train in Norway as part of Western efforts to bolster its military presence in the region.