Chance of a new arms race in the northern latitudes

Chance of a new arms race in the northern latitudes

By Martin Schaake

Creating a vast military infrastructure in the Arctic islands along the Russian Northern Sea Route


The commander of the US Coast Guard Admiral Paul Zukunft said Moscow "militarize the Arctic," which supposedly encourages Washington to retaliatory action. We are talking about the construction of the icebreaker fleet, capable of performing military functions. Almost simultaneously Allied NATO forces in Europe Philip Breedlove, visiting Helsinki, urged countries in the region to test their fighting capacity, taking into account the likely threats that come from Russia.


The Russian Defense Ministry does not hide that actually engaged in the direction of strengthening the Arctic and its military infrastructure. However, the objective data, the combat potential of Russia in the North is much inferior capabilities of the Pentagon and other armies and navies of countries that are members of NATO.


As the commander of the Northern Fleet, Admiral Vladimir Korolev, for the six months that the fleet there as an independent unified strategic command (USC), "we have significantly strengthened our coastal component. And by extending its membership newest nuclear-powered submarines, I mean ships project "Northwind" and "Ash", and the empowerment of logistical military capability of the Northern Fleet has increased significantly. " King also noted that "we are already set to work on the formation of the Northern Fleet in the Army Air Force and Air Defense."


He continues, according to the admiral, and "the formation of an extensive military infrastructure on the Arctic islands around the northern direction - from the islands of the archipelago of Franz Josef Land to the New Siberian Islands." Of course, it scares the North Atlantic Alliance, and first and foremost the United States, which have in the Arctic's own strategic interests. Including the issues of delimitation of the Arctic, which Russia considers its.


Recently, Russia has submitted a revised application to the United Nations to expand the boundaries of the continental shelf in the Arctic due to the addition of the Lomonosov Ridge and the other sections of the Arctic Ocean. As you know, the Americans prevented consideration of a similar application to the UN in 2001. It is noteworthy that the entire military infrastructure in the Arctic along the modernized Russian Northern Sea Route (NSR), which is the shortest when transporting cargo ships from Europe to Asia. Like many other countries, the United States seek to ensure that the status of SMEs, passing along the Arctic coast of Russia, has become international. It is no accident Admiral Paul Zukunft, speaking of Russian militarization of the Arctic, it is referred to the need to build in the US icebreaker fleet. However, he stressed that the issue of the development of advanced icebreakers in its custody (ie, administered by the US Coast Guard). "I maintain close contact with the national security agencies and members of both houses of Congress," - he said.


A few years ago, when the United States only discussed the bill on the construction of nuclear-powered icebreakers to support naval operations in the Arctic, even then they gave military functions. And the Arctic region (including implied SMP) is regarded as an international, international, where the US has its interests there.


In an accompanying reference to the bill passed in Congress, he says: "One of the missions of the Coast Guard is to provide capacity to support US national interests in the polar regions. The United States must and will be present in the Arctic sea and in the air on a scale sufficient to support the regime of prevention and response, as well as to carry out diplomatic tasks. "


Russia is ahead of the US in the number of icebreakers used in the Arctic. But Washington is united its efforts with Canadians. They are used in conjunction ships and warships (including ice-breakers) in the framework of cooperation between the two military officials in the so-called Permanent Joint Board of Defence (POSO). In addition POSO military cooperation the United States and Canada is carried out in the North American Command Aerospace Defense (NORAD). As part of NORAD, Canada and the United States stepped up the activities of air defense systems aimed at intercepting patrolling the Arctic and North Atlantic Russian strategic aviation. The two countries hold regular naval exercises. In particular there is increasing presence in the Barents Sea, the US nuclear submarine fleet, which fulfills the operational activities in the Arctic. According to open sources, that nuclear submarines, together with ice-breakers should be the main weapon of the US Navy in the Arctic. In this regard, the Pentagon in the Arctic since 2011 is conducting a series of studies involving the use of nuclear submarines under a thick layer of ice, starts with them not only to ballistic missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor the area and other tasks. Expenditures for these purposes from 2012 to 2016 will amount to $ 5 billion. Note that this figure is equal to the annual budget expenditure of the Russian Navy for its entire submarine fleet.


Analysts from the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies point out that the representatives of Norway in 2009 released a report with the project Nordic Covenant implies the formation of some "mini-NATO" in Scandinavia and the Arctic - the block, which will include joint military and border guards, intelligence services, Protection Center cyber attacks, as well as the system of coordination in the Arctic. The report was expressly stated that the Nordic Covenant must be a response to Russia's efforts to develop the natural resources of the Arctic shelf. Now, in the Ukrainian crisis and sanctions against Russia, NATO have all focused on solving these problems. And, apparently, is not accidental NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, a month ago, visiting Norway, said that "the presence in the Arctic is still valid for the North Atlantic alliance." According to Deputy Defense Minister of Russia Anatoly Antonov, "the activity of NATO several times higher than what they do the Russian Armed Forces." According to him, NATO's military capabilities (including the Arctic) is several times higher than the Russian.


Thus, Western countries and the United States continue to prepare world public opinion for a possible new round of the arms race in the northern latitudes. In this regard, the representative of Russia to NATO Alexander Grushko said that the transformation of the Arctic zone of military confrontation is not in the interests of countries in the region, and the Russian Foreign Ministry called on Arctic nations to joint constructive and peaceful cooperation.








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