Russia’s Arctic troops to be beefed up with Northern Fleet in 2015
Next year, Russia’s Northern Fleet will become the backbone of its new Arctic Command, with its area of engagement including the high-latitude areas of the Arctic Ocean and the North Pole.
A Russian military source told Tass news agency that the paperwork has been finalized, and that other Russian regional commands will also contribute to the new Arctic Command.
The new Command will focus its activities above the Arctic Circle, in the offshore areas of the Arctic Ocean, a task unfeasible without vast naval capabilities.
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“The Arctic zone force grouping is being created,” Konstantin Sivkov, president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, told the Vzglyad newspaper. “It needs a commander and a leading branch of the armed forces. The Arctic is an ocean area, so the Navy has to take the lead.”
According to Tass’s source, the Northern Fleet Commander is most likely to head the Arctic Command, which came into operation on December 1.
The Northern Fleet is Russia’s most powerful Navy formation. It includes a number of strategic nuclear missile submarines, the nuclear-powered guided-missile cruiser ‘Pyotr Veliky’ (Peter the Great), the heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov and many other warships.
Russia’s Arctic region has so far remained less protected militarily, for a variety of historical and geographical reasons.
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In 2015, the Arctic Command will be reinforced with the S-400 Triumph missile air defense regiment, which is set to be deployed on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago. The command will also have at its disposal the recently reformed 61st Kirkenness Marines Brigade.
A unit of advanced Pantsir-S1 air defense systems will be deployed to one of the refurbished airfields in the Arctic.
In 2014, the Defense Ministry carried out a large part of Russia’s military reorientation toward the Arctic, constructing several brand new military bases in the region.
READ MORE: Russian bases to span entire Arctic border by end of 2014