Friday, May 1, 2015

US, NATO concerned over Russia's growing presence in Arctic (NATO commander)

The United States and NATO are concerned over Russia's military drills in the Arctic, Supreme Allied Commander of EUCOM and NATO, General Philip Breedlove told the US Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

The general said that Russia's building up its military presence in the Arctic, building military bases and setting up the North startegic command is not in the interest of other Arctic states.

Expanding Russia’s presence in the Arctic is one of Russia's key tasks. The northern unified strategic command will be Russia's fifth military district which will assemble Russian military forces on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, the New Siberian Islands, Franz Josef Land and Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean. The North Pole will also be in the area of responsibility of this command.

The Russian government plans to file a request at the United Nations for expanding the borders of its continental shelf. If sustained, the request will increase Russia’s reserves of explored hydrocarbons by five billion tons of equivalent fuel. 

According to experts, the overall fuel and energy reserves in Russia’s Arctic exceed 1.6 trillion tons, while the continental shelf contains about a quarter of all of the world’s offshore reserves. 

In the meantime, Russia’s Defense Ministry is going to build 13 airdromes and 10 radars in the Arctic. The issue was discussed in detail at a meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin held with the government ministers in October.

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