Russian Arctic Command from December 1st

The Northern Fleet has increased training in Arctic regions the last couple of years.

President Vladimir Putin confirms that on a new strategic formation will be established on Monday – the Northern Fleet-United Strategic Command. The formation will have as its main objective to defend Russia’s interests in the Arctic.

At a meeting with the Minister of Defense, the Chief of Staff and other military leaders in Moscow on Monday, President Putin said that the new strategic command for the Arctic zone will be active from December 1.

As BarentsObserver reported in February, the new United strategic command (Obedinyonnoye strategicheskoye kommandovaniye, OSK) “Sever” will have status of a military district, although it will not be called so officially.

The operational control over the new command will be carried out from the National Defense Control Center in Moscow, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports.

The new formation is a result of the need to defend Russia’s national interests in the Arctic, including providing security for its naval and civilian vessels and protection of its natural resources, a source in the General Staff said to TASS.

OSK “Sever” will consist of the Northern Fleet and units of other military branches located in the northern parts of the country.  This will probably include the 200. motorized infantry brigade based in Pechenga close to the border to Norway. This unit became part of the Northern Fleet in December 2012. Also newly formed units on Novaya Zemlya, the New Siberian Islands and Franz Josef Land will also be part of OSK “Sever”.

The Russian Air Force in October 2013 re-opened the Temp airfield on the Kotelny Island, which is planned to be the first in a chain of similar bases all along the northern coast of Russia.