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The entire Northern Fleet will be transferred to the command, a high-ranking defense ministry source told TASS on Wednesday.
The fleet will remain at its bases, but will be transferred in full, including Pechenga-based Brigade 200 of ground troops, which joined the Northern Fleet forces earlier, he said.
Partially Command One of the air force and the air defense with its units and the infrastructure, partially Command Two and Command Three of the Central and Eastern military Districts and some other forces will be transferred by the date, he added.
Russia will create first of two brigades destined for a new Arctic united strategic command already by late March 2015, the source told TASS.
“Facilities of military and social infrastructure in a military township in Alakurtti (northern Russia’s Murmansk region) where this brigade will be based are about to be built. Decrees for appointments to high posts are issued for all its command officers, but no one is appointed yet, because housing is not yet built for servicemen, though work is in full swing. Construction is expected to end in March 2015. A military formation is planned to form completely by the end of this month,” the high-placed military source said.
The command staff of the brigade is taking advanced training at military training centers, he added.
Asked about progress in setting up a second Arctic brigade the source noted that its exact deployment place has not yet been determined, though it will be stationed in Russia’s Arctic Yamal-Nenets autonomous area. “It is only clear that according to plans a brigade should be created in 2016,” the source added.
A new Joint Strategic Command, dubbed North became operational December 1 in the Russian Arctic on the basis of the Northern Fleet.
The formation of the Arctic military command is part of Russia’s ongoing extensive program to build up military presence in the Arctic. Last March, President Vladimir Putin said that the armed forces’ training and development efforts should incorporate measures to increase the combat component of the Arctic group. The Defense Ministry has since made several steps along these lines. Russia’s Defense Ministry is going to build 13 airdromes and 10 radars in the Arctic.
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.
The Russian Northern Fleet will be detached from the Western Military District by December 1 to become the main striking force of the mooted Unified Strategic Command (USC) Sever (North).
Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said in late October that Russia will have full radar coverage of the Arctic region this year, while next year it will be ready “to meet unwanted guests” both from the north and from the east.