(TargetLiberty.org) – Russian leader Vladimir Putin is constantly on the hunt for new ways to shore up his country’s already strong forces. Reports now say that the Kremlin’s military leaders hope to establish a new arctic division with a powerful suite of ships, citing the need to protect polar resources. Are they gearing up for a different kind of “cold” war?
What We Know So Far
Information about the new fleet comes from a source who initially spoke to reporters from Russian News Agency TASS on October 6. The unnamed individual claimed Russian Navy leaders are actively considering the creation of a separate arctic fleet.
If they move forward with the plan, leaders will allegedly split off a portion of the existing Navy into a totally new division. It will patrol the same zones currently monitored by Russia’s Pacific and Northern fleets, freeing them up to focus on combat-oriented incidents.
Navy leaders also apparently plan to provide the fleet with brand-new ships and special arctic equipment at some point in the distant future. Unfortunately, the source didn’t clarify exactly what kind of technology might fall under that category.
Russia’s Continued Focus on Arctic Resources
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) claims Russia initially re-prioritized the arctic and its resources back in 2007. It sought to secure valuable polar resources while also maintaining an iron grip over the controversial Northern Sea Route (NSR), which Russia considers part of its homeland. Leaders also hoped to improve the country’s ability to defend against foreign incursions.
The government eventually created bases at Wrangel Island and Cape Schmidt, both home to advanced radar technologies. These installations allow the Russian military to track and monitor virtually any aircraft or ship entering its territory.
On Kotelny and Novaya Zemlya Islands, large military complexes house advanced Bastion-P and Pantsir-S1 air defense systems. Each one grants Russia’s leaders the ability to take down potential threats from a distance — but what exactly constitutes a threat?
Self-Defense or Stranglehold?
European leaders have serious concerns about Russia’s presence in the Arctic and continued control over that region. They accuse Putin of weaponizing the fossil fuel industry in an effort to bully EU leaders into supporting his proposal for Nord Stream 2.
The Kremlin did vow on October 6 to alleviate the bloc’s skyrocketing gas prices by increasing the flow of gas into the EU — but only if leaders agreed to support his proposal for the controversial Nord Stream 2. That feels awfully close to a bait and switch tactic.
If recent reports are true, is Russia’s decision to create a brand new arctic fleet really a simple attempt at self-defense and resource preservation, or is it just another strategic show of power? From arguments over gas prices with the EU to concerns about the Kremlin’s pragmatism, Russia doesn’t seem to want to negotiate the Nord Stream 2 proposal. Tightening its grip on the frigid north only indicates how far the Kremlin is willing to go to get its way.
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