Russia reinforces military presence in the Arctic
Gain control over resource-rich Arctic region is one of the priorities of the Kremlin
BOILER ISLAND – icy roads run missile launchers, air defense systems threatening aim for the sky.
This military base in the Arctic – a key position for demonstration of Russian influence in this resource-rich polar region.
Base “North Clover” was designed to to all features could be accessed without going outside: a useful precaution for the region where the winter temperature often drops below minus 50 Celsius, even in summer, night frosts are.
The base is strategically located on Kotelny island, between the Laptev sea and East Siberian sea, in the middle of the Arctic sea route.
There are 250 military personnel responsible for surveillance over the sea and the air and coastal defence, including anti-ship missiles.
“Our task is to monitor the airspace and the Northern sea route, says the head of the base Colonel Vladimir Pasechnik. We have all necessary for work and comfortable stay”.
Russia is not the only country trying to assert its influence in the Arctic as melting ice opens up new opportunities for resource development and shipping lanes. USA, Canada, Denmark and Norway also fighting for that position. More and more interest in the region shows China.
However, although the administration of President trump is looking at the Arctic through the prism of competition with Russia and China, while she has not demonstrated that the region is a priority in foreign policy.
For Russia, the strengthening of the presence in the Arctic has become crucial, not least due to the fact that this region is believed to account for a quarter of undiscovered oil and gas. Russian President Vladimir Putin referred to the estimation that the mineral wealth of the Arctic reach 30 trillion dollars.
According to analysts, Russia’s actions have alarmed its neighbors.
“Russia’s Northern sea route is described as a gold mine with huge potential for economic development, says Flemming Splidsboel Hansen from the Danish Institute of international studies. – That’s why in the region of necessary military capabilities. Rather, it is intended to be as defensive, but the West interpreterpath it as offensive”.
They all Christian Christensen from the University of Copenhagen notes that the problem of Russian hegemony in the Arctic are most apparent for Norway.
“Norway is a small country, directly adjacent to the mighty Russia, which has placed a significant military capacity right in her backyard, he said. – Norway is extremely concerned about”.
In 2015, Russia submitted to the UN corrected bid on a vast territory in the Arctic, presenting a claim on 1.2 million square kilometers of Arctic sea shelf, stretching more than 350 nautical miles (650 km) from the shore.
In the framework of its multilateral approach, the Kremlin has poured extensive investments in the modernization of the Soviet facilities in the region.
A group of journalists invited by the Ministry of defense on Kotelny island on Wednesday, showed anti-ship missile launchers “Bastion”, established for exercises off the coast and anti-aircraft missile and gun complexes “Carapace C-1” shooting at the training target.
Russian defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in December, reported to Putin that the military was rebuilt and expanded many objects in the polar region, repaired the runway and deployed the assets of air defence.
The expansion of infrastructure allows the Russian army to restore the complete radar coverage of the Arctic border with a length of 22 600 km, and deploy fighters to protect the airspace.