Russia is planning to establish a new division within the navy that will be responsible for upholding and protecting the country’s interests in the Arctic, according to Russian state media TASS.
Dubbed the “Arctic Fleet,” the division would ensure the safety of the Northern Sea Route and the Arctic coast, which is currently the responsibility of Russia’s Northern and Pacific fleets.
The news agency explained that the new navy division would allow other fleets guarding the region to focus on combat missions.
“The Russian Arctic Fleet, a new structure, is under consideration,” TASS reported, citing a military source. “The plan is that the infrastructure of the new association will be separate from the Northern and Pacific fleets. In the future, it will have ships and special equipment suitable for the Arctic.”
At present, the Russian Navy has fleets in the Pacific, Baltic, and Black Sea.
Strengthening Arctic Presence
Earlier this year, satellite images showed Russia continuing to strengthen its military presence in the Arctic region.
The images captured the ongoing build-up of Russian military bases, and an underground facility said to be a storage area for high-tech weapons.
Pentagon spokesman Thomas Campbell expressed concern over the development, saying the actions of Russia in the Arctic implied that the country is establishing control in the region.
Months after the satellite images were released, the Russian Northern Fleet launched a series of Arctic drills, including ground and air exercises that involved more than 10,000 personnel, 15 aircraft, and about 30 combat ships, submarines, and support vessels.