“Speaking on the Rossiya-24 television news channel Gerasimov recalled the creation of a combined Arctic strategic command on the basis of the Northern Fleet, which went operational on December 1.
Gerasimov also said the Russian Defence Ministry will set up a specialised training center for servicemen doing military service in the Arctic Region in 2015.
The formation of the Arctic military command is part of Russia’s ongoing extensive program to build up its 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.
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.