Russia Activates Arctic Military

Melissa Brown Contributor
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Russia deployed its troops to protect its new 500 square meter island, named Yaya, that floats less than a meter above the arctic water.

“We have moved into the Arctic rather actively and this year we shall have many units deployed along the Arctic Belt – in fact from Murmansk to the Chukotka Peninsula,” said Minister Sergey Shoigu at the Defense Ministry’s board meeting on Tuesday, reports TASS Russian News Agency.

Russia’s large-scale military activation in the arctic is said to be a reaction to NATO’s recent interest in the region, according to RIA Novosti state news agency. Russia’s plans to increase military presence on its northern border include deploying 6,000 soldiers to stretch across the entire arctic belt from Murmansk to the Chukotka Peninsula. Along with the increase in soldiers, the federal security service plans to increase the number of border guards on Russia’s northern perimeter.

Greenpeace Russia is concerned about Russia’s environmental impact because of the military buildup in the Arctic. “During the recent military exercises the missiles were launched on Wrangel Island, with no observers, in an area which is a breeding ground for polar bears and walruses,” said Vladimir Chuprov at Greenpeace Russia, reports TASS Russian News Agency.

The arctic’s massive supply of oil and gas, and a new northern trade route create major economic pulls for Russia’s large-scale military activation. The icy region is estimated to hold 17 to 30 percent of the world’s oil and gas, making the area prime real-estate for Canada, United States, Norway and Denmark. Along with the huge economic value, development of a Northern Sea Route could be a factor in Russia’s northern expansion.