Russia's Arctic force may include paratroopers

Russia considers deploying paratroopers on the border to Norway. (Photo

Units of the Russian Airborne Troops may be deployed in the planned Arctic special forces brigade on the border to Norway.


According to Chief of staff of the Russian Airborne Troops, Lt. Gen. Nikolay Ignatov, Russian militaries are now considering the possibility of deploying paratroopers in the Arctic Spetsnaz brigade planned to be established in Pechenga, Interfax reports.

It was earlier announced that the brigade might be established already within the end of 2011, as BarentsObserver reported.

The first unit to be specially equipped and prepared for military warfare in Arctic conditions, is the 200. motorized infantry brigade in Pechenga, some 10 kilometers from the Russian-Norwegian border and 50 kilometers from the Norwegian town of Kirkenes.

The soldiers will be trained in a special program and equipped with modern personal equipment. The unit will get modern means of communication and transportation, including DT-30P Vityaz tracked vehicles.

Ignatov said the possibility of paratroopers joining the Arctic contingent was being studied on orders of the Airborne Troops commander, Lt. Gen. Vladimir Shamanov. As soon as the analysis is completed, a report will be submitted to the Defense Ministry, which will make the final decision.

The unit in Pechenga was established in 1943 as the 45. division, which took part in the liberation of Petsamo (Pechenga) and Kirkenes. It was later reorganized to the 131. motorized infantry division, before it became the 200. independent motorized infantry brigade some 15 years ago.

Russia’s Airborne Troops currently number 32,000 personnel in four airborne divisions, an airborne assault brigade, and a Special Forces reconnaissance regiment, according to RIA Novosti.