A struggle over the future of the Arctic will intensify next week when Russia takes the leadership of two Arctic ­councils.

Global shipping is split over the wisdom of maritime trade in the region, but Moscow seems to be an evangelist for expansion.

Evgeniy Ambrosov, director of marine operations at Russian gas producer Novatek, has been made chairman of the Arctic Economic Council from 19 May.

He told my colleague Lucy Hine that he had heard no reasonable ecological or economic argument for not using the Northern Sea Route (NSR) — the maritime passage north of Siberia that can link China with Europe without going via the Suez Canal.