Putin set to launch world's biggest arctic army to rival Trump's US Arctic and Canada
According to officials and military analysts, the Russian President is rushing to reopen abandoned Soviet military, air and radar bases on outer Arctic islands.
In what is believed to be Putin’s attempt to rival Canada’s, America’s and Norway’s developed arctic regions.
Professor Pavel Makarevich, a member of the Russian Geographical Society said: “Under [former Soviet leader Mikhail] Gorbachev and [former Russian President Boris] Yeltsin, our Arctic border areas were stripped bare.
“Now they are being restored.”
According to the Independent, Russia is building three nuclear icebreakers, to bolster its fleet of around 40 breakers, six of which are nuclear.
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No other country has a nuclear breaker fleet, which used to clear channels for military and civilian ships, the newspaper reported.
James Mattis, the US Defence Secretary said Washington officials have noted Putin’s moves and claimed it was not in Washington’s “advantage to leave any part of the world” to others.
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In a separate written submission Mattis described Putin’s steps as “aggressive” and pledged to develop a US counter strategy, according to Senator Dan Sullivan.
News of Putin’s arctic army comes hours after reports suggest Putin and Trump could meet before July’s G20 summit.
Sergei Shoigu, the defence minister, is presiding over the reopening or creation of six military facilities, some of which will be ready by the end of the year.
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Mikhail Barabanov, editor-in-chief of Moscow Defence Brief said: “The modernisation of Arctic forces and of Arctic military infrastructure is taking place at an unprecedented pace not seen even in Soviet times."
Vladimir Blinov, a guide on the Soviet Union’s nuclear icebreaker told the Independent: “History is repeating itself. We beat the Americans and built the world’s first nuclear ship [the Lenin]. The situation today is similar.”