Russia resumes constant military presence in the Arctic - Defense Ministry
The Russian Defense Ministry has resumed a constant Russian military presence in the Arctic with the deployment of a North Fleet unit led by the Pyotr Veliky heavy nuclear-powered missile cruiser, First Deputy Defense Minister Gen. of the Army Arkady Bakhin told reporters on Saturday after a teleconference at the Defense Ministry's Situation Center.
The teleconference, chaired by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, was dedicated to the arrival of the Russian naval unit to the western coast of the Kotelny Island of the Novosibirsk Islands archipelago.
"The North Fleet unit began its mission in the waters off the coast of the Novosibirsk Islands two days ago," Bakhin said.
"We have arrived there or, to be more exact, have returned there to stay because this was originally Russian land. The mission the North Fleet ships are now accomplishing is just a part of the missions set by the Russian president and defense minister for the development and improvement of the Northern Sea Route and the Arctic zone around it," the general stressed.
"There are numerous tasks to complete that are complex and difficult, but we will fulfill them anyway: first and foremost, we have well-trained specialists to perform these tasks," Bakhin said.
"In the future, North Fleet units will accomplish missions of similar complexity in the waters off the coast of the Franz-Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya," Bakhin said.
The Temp airfield will be reconstructed and modernized on the Novosibirsk Islands. It will be able to receive Antonov An-72 and An-74 aircraft already in October, he said.
The defense minister has ordered that the airfield's runway be extended and broadened for receiving jumbo aircraft. "The "Antei" and Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft will contribute to the enlargement of our forces deployed on the archipelago," Bakhin said.
"Air traffic will be regular, year-round and all-weather," he stressed.
"We aim to restore the polar aviation and its infrastructure, including bases on the continent and on islands," Bakhin said.
This is a question of the strategic aviation and more intensive research and expeditions along the circumpolar Northern Sea Route, the first deputy minister said.
As to the Temp airfield, Bakhin said, "it will be built with latest technology. The runway will meet the harsh climatic conditions of the Arctic. We will be using materials resilient to extremely low temperatures. The airfield will operate permanently."