MOSCOW, January 12. /TASS/. Russia’s Defense Ministry plans this year to complete the development of military facilities in the Arctic islands and the infrastructure development in the Kurils, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Tuesday.
"Basically, it is necessary to complete everything on the islands. Then we proceed to the second stage of the construction and creation of our bases in the Arctic," he said at a teleconference.
"This year we should complete the formation of the whole infrastructure on the Kuril Islands," the minister added.
The work is carried out within the framework of the Defense Ministry program until 2020 for the improvement of the composition of forces stationed in the Arctic and the Kuril Island areas.
In particular, it is planned to build 392 buildings and facilities on the Iturup and Kunashir Islands of the Greater Kuril Ridge. According to the minister, these will be garrisons with developed infrastructure - kindergartens, schools, cultural and leisure centres and dormitories.
He said that in 2015 the main efforts were focused on the completion of the construction of the first priority buildings and engineering infrastructure. "This allowed us to accommodate the personnel and put on combat duty the arriving equipment," the defense minister said.
In late September, air defense units of the Eastern Military District were put on combat duty on the Kuril Islands with the Tor-M2U missile systems.
The Russian Defense Ministry is now completing the creation of a military base on the Kotelny Island in the New Siberian Islands archipelago in the Arctic. According to Sergei Shoigu, "It's a big base, a modern building with all the necessary equipment for the frontiers." According to him, a slightly smaller base will be deployed on the Wrangel Island. Bases will also be created on Cape Schmidt, on the eastern coast of Chukotka.
In addition, the development of six Russian military bases was practically completed in the Arctic last year.
"It is planned to complete reinforcement of the troops groups in the Arctic zone by the end of 2016, and during 2017 it is planned to complete the construction of the remaining infrastructure facilities and improvement of the airfield network in order to have self-contained mobile groups of troops in the Arctic by 2018," a source in the Russian General Staff told TASS previously.
"According to the General Staff’s execution documents, the work for the deployment and equipment of six military bases on the Arctic islands and in the polar part of mainland Russia is completed," the source said at an international forum on Arctic in early December last year. He said that the bases were deployed on the islands of Kotelny (New Siberian Islands), Alexandra Land (part of the Franz-Joseph Land archipelago), Sredny (Severnaya Zemlya), as well as in the Rogachevo settlement (Novaya Zemlya), on Cape Schmidt and Wrangel Island (part of the Chukotka autonomous area). "The first priority infrastructure facilities, including the administrative and housing complexes - closed-cycle military towns, aerodromes, combat positions of the Arctic units were built," the source said.