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Russian Defense Ministry starts training instructors for future Arctic force

October 15, 2014, 18:53 UTC+3 MOSCOW

About 30 officers will study weapons and other military hardware to be employed in the Arctic, acquire skills in mountaineering, providing first aid under low temperatures

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© ITAR-TASS/Anatoly Semekhin

MOSCOW, October 15. /TASS/. The Far Eastern Higher Command Academy in Blagoveshchensk has opened the first-ever duty training course for officers of the combat Arctic training center of the airborne troops, the Marines and special purpose forces. Future instructors will be tasked with the mission to train personnel for Russia’s Arctic force, the spokesman for the Eastern Military District, Alexander Gordeyev, told TASS.

“Over a month about 30 officers will be instructed in the basics of mountaineering, technical and special skills and in providing first aid under low temperatures,” Gordeyev said. “They will study special mountaineering equipment and gear and also weapons and other military hardware to be employed in the Arctic.”

Russian Northern Fleet to be main striking force of Arctic Military Command

A senior source at the Russian Defense Ministry told TASS earlier that a new combined strategic command North will be created on the basis of the Northern Fleet in the Arctic by the end of this year.

The Russian Northern Fleet will be detached from the Western Military District by December 1 to become the main striking force of the mooted Sever (North) Unified Strategic Command (USC), which is under formation in Russia with the aim of protecting the country’s interests in the Arctic, a source in Russia's Defense Ministry earlier told TASS.

Russia announced it was recreating its military base on the Novosibirsk Islands in the Laptev Sea. An airfield was opened on Kotelny, the largest island of the archipelago. Another military airport, Rogachyovo, commissioned on the southern island of the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago, is capable of accommodating fighter jets.

The construction of the Tiksi airdrome in Yakutia’s northernmost locality, inside the Arctic circle, will be completed in 2015. Three airdromes - in the Alykel community (the Krasnoyarsk Territory), in Vorkuta (the Komi Republic), and in Anadyr, the administrative center of Chukotka, will be expanded.

Military drills in the Arctic

The Russian Armed Forces have stepped up military exercises in the Arctic. In late September, a tactical group of Russia's Northern Fleet together with the crew of the Admiral Levchenko destroyer conducted firing drills in the area of the Novosibirsk Islands in the Arctic Ocean. 

Last April, airborne troops were parachuted to the drifting base Barneo, in the Arctic. Belarussian troops are scheduled to join Russian paratroopers for a similar airdrop operation in 2015.

On August 4-8, the area of the Franz Josef Land was a scene of exercises for pilots of the Central Military District, involving strategic bombers Tupolev-95, long-range interceptors MiG-31 and frontline bombers Sukhoi-24.

Kommersant daily reported in August citing a source in the General Staff that the first two military garrisons would be deployed on the Wrangel Island and the Chukotka Peninsula’s Cape Schmidt. A total of six such garrisons are to crop up in the region, one of them in the Amderma community, the Nenets Autonomous District - a strategic point for keeping under control the entire western section of the Northern Sea Route.

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