Inside the Arctic Military Base at the Center of U.S.-Russia Tensions | WSJ
The world’s first combat icebreaker was recently presented in St. Petersburg
From launching the world’s first “combat icebreaker” to training the military in how to handle reindeer teams, from upgrading Soviet air bases and radar stations to adapting weapon systems and armored vehicles to cold weather conditions, Russia is actively strengthening its military presence in the Arctic and willingly draws attention to this fact. using military exercises and test launches of new missiles.
Western analysts say the Kremlin’s goal is to establish itself as the dominant power in a region with vast unexplored resources that are being made more accessible by rising temperatures, melting ice and rising sea levels..
The Ivan Papanin combat icebreaker was recently launched in St. Petersburg, which is planned to be put into service by 2023, equipped with Caliber cruise missiles, a 76.2 mm gun and a Ka-27 anti-submarine helicopter.
“We wanted to create it so that it would ensure the safety of navigation and pilotage of ships.. At the same time, so that this ship can carry out scientific research in the ice of the Arctic and, of course, that it reliably ensures the security of our national interests there, “Admiral Viktor Cherkov told TASS agency.
For President Vladimir Putin, development in the Arctic has become one of the key long-term goals. This year he made an ambitious suggestion that the Northern Sea Route could compete with the Suez Canal. Some international investors are already buying up stakes in LNG export projects along this route.
The Russian authorities insist that their assertive stance is a response to NATO exercises in the region and is aimed at ensuring peace in the Arctic. However, the latest missile tests are obviously intended to serve as a signal and support Moscow’s territorial claims..
NATO, at the request of Norway and other Scandinavian and Baltic countries, is also intensifying its activities in the Arctic, especially in the Kola Peninsula region, where the Russian Northern Fleet is based..
In a recent article for the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, the Russian foreign minister accused NATO of creating a tense situation in the Arctic. “Norway is deviating from its basic policy, deploying in peacetime on its territory, supposedly on a rotational, but in fact on a permanent basis, training bases for US and British troops,” he noted, calling the Trident Juncture exercises, which took place recently “near Russian borders”.
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