Vladimir Putin’s statement came during a speech to senior officers of Russia’s power structures in Kremlin on Friday. Lined up were officers from the Defence Ministry, Interior Ministry, FSB, Foreign Intelligence Service and others.
Putin highlighted the Arctic when he was talking about the upcoming military exercise Vostok-2014.
“This autumn, we will hold another strategic military exercise – Vostok 2014, which will give us the chance to put to the test the use of combined forces made up of personnel from different branches of the armed forces, and with forces from other security agencies taking part too. We also plan to continue developing our armed forces’ different combat units, including in the Arctic region.”
Later on Friday, Vladimir Putin held a briefing session with permanent members of the Security Council. Current issues on the international agenda where discussed and according to a summary posted on the President’s portal, Russia’s position in the Arctic region were a particular issue for exchange of views.
Russia has over the last few years strengthened its military presence in the western part of the Arctic. New strategic submarines of the Borey-class were based in Gadzhiyevo naval base on the Kola Peninsula some few months ago. Many more submarines, including multi-purpose subs, are under construction and will be based close to neighboring Norway on the coast of the Barents Sea. The Northern fleet’s sailing along the Northern Sea route included the navy’s nuclear powered battle cruiser “Pyotr Veliky” last fall and Russian strategic bombers resumed flights both in the Arctic and along Norway’s northern coast a few years back and are now nearly a weekly recurrence.
Two weeks ago, 350 paratroopers were dropped over the far northern New Siberia Island in one of Russia’s biggest post-Soviet airdrop operation in the Arctic ever. The soldiers, dressed in new specially designed 7-layer military gear landed on the island after having undergone an Arctic survival training program, BarentsObserver reported.