Moscow: Russia has taken aggressive steps to increase its sphere of influence in the Arctic sector and commissioned a new military base in the area. More than 250 soldiers along with a missile defence system as well as anti-ship missiles were deployed at the Russian base, dubbed as Severny Klever. Considering Russia’s strong preparations, Canada may lose stake over the Arctic region, the Canadian parliamentarians warn.
The new base is built at the Arctic, earth’s north polar region in the Kotelny Island, which is recognised as the leading marine route in the area. The objective of the base is said to be gaining control over the Arctic freight routes to be developed in the future. The base commander, Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Pasechnik said, ‘Our task is to monitor the airspace and the northern sea route.’
At the base, Russia has deployed a radar system capable of keeping a watch on the entire Arctic region, as also the Coastal Defence Missile System along with the Pantsir Air Defence Missile System. At the same time, the stock of essential commodities was also provided at the base to last for a full year, enough for 250 soldiers deployed here. Therefore, the Russian officials claimed that the station could remain functional for one year without any aid from outside.
Russian President Vladimir Putin himself had indicated that the Arctic sector would have a significant contribution to the country’s future and also noted increasing military deployment and investment in the industry. For the purpose, an independent department called the ‘Far East and Arctic Development’ was also established. During the last four years, the Russian military activities were stepped up in the sector while three military bases, including the complex in Severny Klever, were established in the region.
By year-end, Russia is to hold large-scale military war exercises in the Arctic region called the ‘Tsentr-2019’. Thousands of Russian soldiers from the ‘Central Military District’, along with the Russian Northern Fleet and Pacific Fleet, will be participating in the exercises. The Russian sources clarified that the practices would be held, to assess the war preparedness of the military units in the Arctic. The activities would also include testing various defence systems Russia has explicitly developed for use in snowy regions.
The other countries claiming right over the Arctic region seem to be lagging when compared to Russia’s rapid movements. Although the United States suggested the activation of the military bases in Alaska, the preparations are not done as yet. Even Canada seems to have been ignorant regarding the Arctic, and the parliamentarians are targeting the government over the issue. Moreover, NATO had indicated keeping a proper watch on the Arctic by holding war exercises, but no further steps were taken after that. Therefore, analysts indicate that Russia would emerge a winner in the race to dominate the Arctic.