Russia is sending Marines to the Arctic as part of the Northern Sea Route expedition
MOSCOW, (BM) – The Northern Fleet of Russia is completing the preparation of a detachment of warships and support vessels for a cruise along the Northern Sea Route, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing the press service of the fleet statement.
“Currently, the ships and vessels are in the roadstead of the main base of the Northern Fleet – Severomorsk. Over the weekend, they replenished stocks of water, fuel and food,” – said in a message that was received by BulgarianMilitary on Monday [August 3 – ed.].
The press service reported that eight ships and vessels will take part in the campaign: the large anti-submarine ship Severomorsk, the large landing ships Alexander Otrakovsky and Kondopoga, the Vladimir Gumanenko sea minesweeper, the Pamir rescue tug, the large the seagoing tanker “Sergei Osipov”, the auxiliary vessel KIL-143 and the icebreaker “Ilya Muromets”, which will host representatives of the Russian Geographical Society.
“Hydrographic vessels of the Northern Fleet, border patrol ships and icebreakers of Atomflot will interact with it at various stages of the march of the Arctic group,” the message says.
The press service reported that large amphibious ships are sent to the Arctic by marine units with military equipment.
“They will conduct a series of landings on the unequipped sea coast of the islands and the continent. On the Taimyr Peninsula, the Severomors will work out an interspecific tactical exercise to defend an important industrial facility,” the Northern Fleet said.
The readiness of the ships for the campaign was checked by the Chief of Staff of the Northern Fleet Vladimir Grishechkin and the Deputy Fleet Commander Oleg Golubev.
The press service of the fleet said that on Tuesday a solemn meeting will take place on board the ships, at which the command will give parting words to the crews.
In December last year, the chief of the Russian General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, called the Northern Sea Route “a historically established national transport communication.” He then said that Russia is against the presence of foreign warships on the Northern Sea Route.
In recent years, Russia has significantly strengthened its military grouping in the Arctic zone.
On September 20 last year, the press service of the Northern Fleet announced the deployment of new S-400 long-range air defense systems [Almaz-Antey VKO concern] on combat duty on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago. On the S-400, the anti-aircraft missile regiment of the Northern Fleet on Yuzhny Island was rearmed. Previously, the regiment was armed with S-300 air defense systems.
Last November, the commander of the Northern Fleet, Alexander Moiseyev, announced that the Russian military had deployed Bastion coastal missile systems in the Arctic on the archipelagoes of the New Siberian Islands and Franz Josef Land to cover the Northern Sea Route.
The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation informed that over the past few years almost two dozen airfields have been reconstructed in the Arctic. The Northern Fleet has received new submarines for patrolling in the Arctic.
This is not the first visit by Russian Marines to the Arctic
The airborne units of the Russian airborne forces in the Arctic caused a great resonance in Norway this April. Russian expert Jakub Godzimirsky of the Norwegian Institute of Foreign Policy believes that this is primarily a symbolic event.
His opponents insist that such exercises are “bad news for Norway,” what the Russian military is doing on their archipelago can theoretically be repeated on Svalbard.
The Russian armed forces boast that they were able to land troops in the Arctic east of Svalbard from a height of 10 thousand meters, the article says. For the first time in world history, they carried out landing operations in the extreme conditions of the Arctic from IL-76 aircraft.
The operation was carried out by direct order of the Minister of Defense. Such exercises will be held annually, in different regions of the Arctic, with a different composition of the participants involved and at different periods of training.
“I consider this mostly a symbolic action,” commented expert Jakub Godzimirsky. – “I do not think that it is of great importance from the point of view of security policy. You can compare this operation with the one that took place in 2007, when the Russian expedition hoisted the Russian flag at the bottom of the sea under the North Pole.”
According to him, Russia with the help of its amphibious exercises primarily seeks to attract attention.
“I primarily interpret this as an element of strategic communication. They do this to announce their presence in the region. And they are doing what before, before them, no one did. They show that they can conduct military exercises even during times of crisis because of the coronavirus. But the fact that Russian paratroopers participate in exercises in the Arctic conditions should not surprise anyone. This is as natural as the teachings of Saudi Arabia in the desert,” Godzimirsky explained his point of view.
He claims that the action is designed both for the Russian people and for Western countries.
Spokeswoman for the Norwegian Ministry of Defense’s Operational Headquarters, Elisabeth Eikelann, said her department never commented on other countries.
The State Department sees in Russia’s actions in the Arctic a threat to NATO
The growing Russian military presence in the Arctic threatens NATO’s anti-submarine defense line in the North Atlantic, said US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Michael Murphy on May 17 this year.
“China and Russia are increasingly striving to challenge the interests of the United States, the West and the Allies. <…> And the Arctic is no exception,” the American diplomat said.
According to Murphy, Russia has created a developed infrastructure in the Arctic, announced the dispatch of S-400 missile defense systems to the Kola Peninsula, and formed new Arctic units. In his opinion, these actions go beyond the protection of territories, jeopardizing the Faroe-Icelandic border.
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