Ukraine isn’t only on Russia’s mind, Putin is taking over the North

WASHINGTON — The war in Ukraine has been the focus of the world public since February. We have witnessed somewhat complicated and sometimes two-way political decisions from Washington, through Kyiv, and all the way to Moscow.

Ukraine isn't only on Russia's mind, Putin is taking over the North
Photo: REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

After Russia invaded Ukraine, a part of the world faced Moscow, but not with force, but with finance. On the one hand, major economies have imposed economic sanctions and import bans on key new technologies and components. On the other hand, Moscow has no intention of surrendering and, despite everything and everyone, continues to push its arms industry to full capacity.

I.e. things are not as one-way as they seem, and they do not happen as quickly and efficiently as we would like. At the same time, Russia is showing stoicism and resourcefulness with which to respond proportionately to Western resistance. Ukraine continues to receive weapons, ammunition, equipment, medical supplies, and humanitarian aid from its partners against Russian aggression. Russia, on the other hand, retaliates with consistency and with now large, even huge stockpiles of weapons.

But Ukraine is not the only thing on Russia’s mind. The largest territory in the world needs to think more deeply about its defense. On all fronts and in all military domains.

Ukraine isn't only on Russia's mind, Putin is taking over the North
Photo credit: Facebook

And so, at war with Ukraine and throwing thousands into battle, Russia is slowly taking over the high north – the Arctic. New satellite images from recent hours show ongoing repairs at two major radar stations there – one is in Olenegorsk, in northwestern Russia, near Finland; and the second in Vorkuta, north of the Arctic Circle.

The company that presented the satellite images is Maxar Technologies. Officials of the company made their comment to the American television channel CNN. According to them, the first radar station is new and in an advanced process of construction. It is an important location for both Russia and NATO, as Olenegorsk is close to Finland and Norway.

According to the US company Maxar Technologies, the Russians have carried out major repairs on two airstrips in the north at two other Russian military bases in the Arctic. Also, satellite images show that Moscow has recently overhauled another radar station of the Russian Armed Forces – the one in Tiksi.

However, the satellite images are not the only evidence of increased Russian activity in the area. NATO Secretary General Mr. Jens Stoltenberg confirmed, also to the American television company CNN, that the Russians have doubled their military presence in the high north. “There is a significant Russian military build-up in the high north,” Mr. Stoltenberg said.

Stoltenberg said that because of the war in Ukraine, Russian bases in the Arctic are currently “on the back burner”. But, according to the head of NATO, they are of the same strategic importance as Ukraine. The reason – the high north is the shortest way from Russia to North America, i.e. the US. Mr. Stoltenberg wanted to specify that the strategic importance of these bases remains unchanged, precisely because of the current war with Ukraine.

Ukraine isn't only on Russia's mind, Putin is taking over the North
Photo credit: Maxar Technologies

In reality, the presence of Russian troops in the Arctic has been monitored more intensively in the last two years. Russia inherited old Soviet bases and recently decided not only to reopen them but also to re-equip and rearm them.

“Russia is currently retooling the Arctic. Cold War-era bases are being rebuilt and new infrastructure is being built,” said a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank. recalls that in recent years, Russia made several tests of its new weapon systems precisely in the Arctic. Russia also maintains nuclear-capable ships there.

NATO Secretary General Mr. Stoltenberg has assured the general public that NATO forces are monitoring the actions of the Russian military in the region. He recalled that the alliance continuously monitors the Baltic and North Seas.


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