Russia restores military presence in Arctic

Moscow, Sep 17 (IANS) Russia has restored military presence in the Arctic and plans to build an airfield in the region, a senior military official said Monday.

A group of warships from the Northern Fleet has started to implement basic tasks at the Novosibirsk archipelago off the northern Siberian coast, Xinhua reported citing First Deputy Defence Minister Arkady Bakhin.

The naval group, which includes heavy nuclear missile cruiser Peter the Great, has been deployed along the Northern Sea route and the adjacent Arctic zone, Bakhin told reporters.

The group will restore and maintain an airfield there capable to serve An-72 and An-74 aircraft around the year.

"We must fully restore Polar aviation and its infrastructure," Bakhin said.

Russia also plans to deploy more naval groups in the Arctic island of Novaya Zemlya and the Franz-Josef Land archipelagos in the near future, he added.

Russia is a member of the Arctic Council, which currently consists of the eight countries with territories in the Arctic.


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