Russia has increased its military presence in the Arctic region in a bid to protect its interests in the Northern Sea Route (NSR) with a squadron of Su-34 multi-purpose fighter jets, as well as additional military infrastructure including radars, radio-electronic equipment and missile systems.
The Northern Fleet is taking a leading role in implementing the Kremlin’s militarization plans. Launching from the Monchegorsk base, located 100 km from the Norwegian border, the Su-34 fighter jets have a range of 4,500 km, enough to cover almost the entire NSR.
It was anticipated that the Su-34 will be armed with the Kh-35U turbojet supersonic cruise missile capable of destroying large ships at distances of up to 260 km.
PTI has covered the opportunities and challenges that the melting of sea ice presents beyond the Arctic Circle, and analysed the viability of the recently traversed Arctic Route, asking whether it could be the boon that the shipping sector sorely needs.
According to the Russian government additional airbases are going to be added along the NSR in due course, with the Rogachevo and Nagurskoye bases located furthest North.
Russian authorities claims that the measure is intended to ward off Arctic neighbours Canada, Norway, and the United States, all of whom have raised concerns about the security implications of melting sea ice having encountered several Russian incursions into their airspace.
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The Russian Foreign Ministry recently condemned Norway’s Globus military radar system, located in Vardø, about 50 km from the border with Russia.
“It’s no secret that the information it receives is transmitted to the United States,” said spokesperson Maria Zakharova.
“It seems obvious to me that military preparations near Russian or any other borders cannot be ignored by us or other countries” Maria Zakharova, the Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Russian media at a press conference.