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Thread: Arctic / Polar matters (merged thread)

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    Council Member Adam L's Avatar
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    Default Arctic / Polar matters (merged thread)

    The real cost of such an approach would be a national independence that would literally degenerate into legal fiction.
    In my opinion, the greatest threat to Canada's sovereignty is its inability to patrol and/or guard its northern territorial claims. With ice receding up north, everyone (especially Russia) has been trying to lay claims to the Arctic seabed. Canada has been unable to perform underwater surveys due to its lack of a powerful icebreaker. Russia has made several expeditions with one of their icebreaker (nuclear powered if I recall) to do so. I know this is a tad off topic, but I feel that it is very related to this issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Norfolk; there's next to no likeliness of an invasion of Canada.
    I understand very well that/if the nation isn't much interested in the military.

    I would only care about the efficiency, not the amount of spending.
    Small armies often work pretty well - inventories like 2 Hercules planes work well in small nations even while large nations assert that inventories below a couple dozen or hundred aircraft of a single type would be ineffective.
    Although Canada is a "small" country as far as population is concerned, I would think they have many of the logistical issues of a much larger nation due to the shear size of the country. Norfolk, can you give some insight on this?

    Adam L

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam L View Post
    In my opinion, the greatest threat to Canada's sovereignty is its inability to patrol and/or guard its northern territorial claims. With ice receding up north, everyone (especially Russia) has been trying to lay claims to the Arctic seabed. Canada has been unable to perform underwater surveys due to its lack of a powerful icebreaker. Russia has made several expeditions with one of their icebreaker (nuclear powered if I recall) to do so. I know this is a tad off topic, but I feel that it is very related to this issue.

    Although Canada is a "small" country as far as population is concerned, I would think they have many of the logistical issues of a much larger nation due to the shear size of the country. Norfolk, can you give some insight on this?

    Adam L
    Hello Adam,

    Perhaps even more so than the U.S., in its own way Canada is dependent upon Airpower for its strategic defence and operational mobility. The recent acquisition of C-17s was a step in the right direction, but 4 were not remotely enough; the planned acquisition of 17 C-130Js is nice, but given the choice between having a full squadron of a dozen+ C-17s on one hand, or the planned force of 4 C-17s and 17 C-130Js, the former would be better. Canada requires strategic airflift just for its own defence, whether that's airlifting and sustaining a Battalion to deal with an enemy lodgement in the High Arctic or along one of the Ocean Coasts, or doing the same with a Battle Group on the other side of the world. It is practically inconceivable that anything larger than a Regiment/Brigade airlift would ever have to be mounted, not least, obviously, because any enemy would find it difficult or impossible to mount and sustain anything larger than a Battalion-level operation. For tactical operations, something akin to the good old DHC Caribou STOL transports would do; they were originally designed to provide Divisional-Level supply and transport in nuclear war conditions, but unfortunately there has been no replacement. Obviously, Air Superiority is critical to enable any of this.

    As to Canada's territorial water claims in the Arctic and especially the North-West Passage, they are misconceived. They are not generally recognized internationally, and of course do not in any way meet the 12-mile limit under International Law. As to the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone that International Law provides for, that's a legitimate claim Canada can hold on to. But to enforce in practice would require a modest, but noticeable militarization of the Arctic, particularly along the NorthWest Passage. In general terms, think a few AIP subs, a Fighter Squadron, and a reinforced Infantry Battalion/Battle Group either in the region or able to get there, intact and sustainable, fiarly rapidly.

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Perhaps it would do to address Marc's question of what are Canada's defence obligations, requirements, and resources. In another thread, Marc mentioned that Canada required forces of very high quality, and it should go without saying that he is entirely correct. The problem is that the disparity between political will and willingess to allocate resources on the one hand, and international obligations and military requirements on the other is vast, to say the least.

    At the end of WWII, the General Staff determined that the Army required 6 Infantry Divisions (1 Regular Army, 5 Reserve Army) and 2 Armoured Brigades (both Reserve Army) for the defence of Canada. The Navy Staff determined that it required 2 Aircraft Carriers along with Escorts and the like (one on each Coast), and the Air Staff determined a requirement for something like 600 Fighter aircraft (IIRC, my memory is hazy here).

    They actually got an Army of 3 Infantry Battalions, 2 Armoured Regiments (Battalions), and a Regiment (Battalion) or equivalent each of Artillery, Field Engineers, and IIRC (again memory hazy) an AA Regiment, plus an SAS Company. The Navy got 1 Aircraft Carrier - plus Escorts on both coasts, and the Air Force received something like a handful of the Fighter Squadrons it was looking for. That's probably about what Canada can afford now, if it had the will do do so, though a CV or LHD is probably beyond the country's will and resources. AIP Subs and Coastal Patrol/ASW aircraft are best for coastal defence, leaving surface ships to Expeditionary and Convoy operations.

    As to requirements, that's a different story. Canada is most unlikely to ever commit a force much larger than either a Battalion, Frigate Squadron, Fighter Squadron, some Logistics and Ancillary elements, or a full-fledged Battle Group or Joint Task Force. In this sense, we still possess the traditional Imperial mentality of "A Battalion, a Battery, and a Frigate". Think up to an MEU for all practical purposes. Except if a general war breaks out, then nothing short of entire Divisions, Naval Battle Groups, and Air Divisions will do. Canada attempted something like this on the cheap in the 1950's, and gave it up by the mid-1960's. Not politically sustainable then, and certainly not now.

    But as to "quality" and training, that's harder now; the Human Rights Commission in the early 90's imposed requirements upon the Armed Forces that were prejudical to training, order, and good discipline, to put it mildly. The Armed Forces have tried to work around this, in some cases with quite some success. But the albatross is still there. Without the ability to demand and enforce the highest standards of selection, leadership, training, and discipline, a "small but high-quality force" is more of a wish than an achievable objective. When Infantrymen, as an example, are required every 90 days (at least) to perform the 2x10 (marching 10 miles within 2 hours with full kit, on back-to-back days), one day immediately crossing an Assault Course after the 10-miler before directly proceeding on to a Live-Fire Section Attack with no rest; and the other day peforming a Casualty-Carry immediately after the 10-miler, and then proceeding directly without rest to a Live Shoot out to 300-400m where each must achieve a Marksman's rating, then a "small, high-quality force" is practically achievable. The basics must be strictly enforced, otherwise the "small, high-quality force" is rather less than it appears on paper.

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    Default Canada & Russia are neighbours

    Two recent articles that'll probably be fodder for a new Stephen Coonts novel. Anyone remember the old Cold War rumors of Spetsnaz vacations in Alaska?

    Canada says will defend its Arctic
    Mar 27 12:41 PM US/Eastern
    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php...show_article=1

    The Canadian government on Friday reaffirmed its Arctic claims, saying it will defend its northern territories and waters after Russia earlier announced plans to militarize the North.

    "Canada is an Arctic power," Catherine Loubier, a spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, said in an email to AFP.

    "The government is engaged in protecting the security of Canada and in exercising its sovereignty in the North, including Canadian waters," she said.

    Loubier pointed to the planned acquisition of Arctic patrol vessels, construction of a deep water port and eavesdropping network in the region, annual military exercises and boosting the number Inuit Arctic rangers keeping on eye on goings-on along its northern frontier.

    Earlier, Russia announced plans to turn the Arctic into its "leading strategic resource base" by 2020 and station troops there, documents showed, as nations race to stake a claim to the oil-rich region.

    The country's strategy for the Arctic through 2020 -- adopted last year and now published on the national security council website -- says one of Russia's main goals for the region is to put troops in its Arctic zone "capable of ensuring military security."
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    Default Arctic

    Seem the discussion has gotten onto the SOF side of things, but I'd like to talk about Arctic security for a moment. Currently our Navy has plans to produce "Arctic Patrol Vessels" for sovereignty missions up north. These vessels would be ice hardened and capable of winter missions, based out of ports like Nannook and Nanisivik they would be fairly lightly armed but capable of conducting fisheries patrols and "NorPloy's" currently performed by the CG. As it stands now, a Frigate usually goes up there each summer to show the flag, but it’s seen by the Navy as more of a training opportunity in ice navigation rather than real "presence patrolling" to borrow a term from the army.

    Its not clear if the reg force will be the primary sailors (hardship posting anyone?) or if the reserves will be employed for crew on these ships yet, but given the Navy's problems with manning and operational tempo I don't see how this new commitment can be properly met. I know the bosses I've had haven't been able to give me a satisfactory answer regarding this, which doesn't speak well for the plan.

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    Default Wrestling for Artic resources, Russian style

    This could get interesting.


    MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's defense minister says the military will deploy two army brigades to help protect the nation's interests in the Arctic.

    *

    Serdyukov was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying Friday the brigades could be based in Murmansk, Arkhangelsk or other areas.

    Russia, the U.S., Canada, Denmark and Norway have been trying to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic, believed to hold up to a quarter of the Earth's undiscovered oil and gas.

    On Thursday, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Russia "remains open for dialogue" with its polar neighbors, but will "strongly and persistently" defend its interests in the region.
    http://news.yahoo.com/russia-deploy-...123709564.html

    Hmmm. From 2010

    Russia will not create an Arctic military force irrespective of any territorial disputes that may develop in the energy-rich region, said the Russian envoy to the eight-nation Arctic Council.

    “Forming special Arctic troops is not on the Russian agenda,” Anton Vasilyev told a news conference on Monday. “But we did indeed plan to strengthen the materiel of the forces responsible for security, primarily in ensuring the safety of navigation at sea.”
    http://rt.com/news/arctic-russia-no-militarisation/

    From 2009

    Russia signalled its determination to win the race for the Arctic's mineral wealth yesterday by announcing plans to establish military bases along its northern coastline.

    A new national security strategy includes plans to create army units in Russia's Arctic region to “guarantee military security in different military-political situations”.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle5989257.ece

    A Backgrounder

    Rising tensions

    While the Antarctic is a non-militarised scientific and nature reserve, the Arctic includes the territory and inhabitants of eight states. Of the five states fronting the Arctic Ocean, Russia has by far the largest coastline, more than 17,500 kilometres long, and the largest Arctic population. As much as 20% of Russian GDP derives from north of the Arctic Circle. The Arctic Ocean and its shores are by no means the highly militarised zone of confrontation they were during the Cold War, but climate change, proceeding at a much higher rate in the Arctic than in the rest of the world, and the retreating ice cap, are giving it a new strategic importance. The region is now economically as well as militarily significant. In 2009 the US Geological Survey estimated that this area, where some maritime boundaries remain at issue among the coastal states, contains some 30% of the world’s undiscovered natural gas and about 13% of the world’s undiscovered oil, mainly offshore under less than 500 metres of water. The undiscovered natural gas is mainly concentrated in Russia. These estimates suggest that Russia is likely to end up with the largest share of Arctic resource wealth and that its strategic control of natural-gas resources is likely to be strengthened in the future.
    http://www.iiss.org/publications/sur...tic-stability/

    See also
    http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/land-te.../index-eng.asp
    and
    http://www.usarak.army.mil/alaskapos...r18Story11.asp
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    Default Wrestling for Artic resources, Russian style

    This could get interesting.


    MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's defense minister says the military will deploy two army brigades to help protect the nation's interests in the Arctic.

    *

    Serdyukov was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying Friday the brigades could be based in Murmansk, Arkhangelsk or other areas.

    Russia, the U.S., Canada, Denmark and Norway have been trying to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic, believed to hold up to a quarter of the Earth's undiscovered oil and gas.

    On Thursday, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Russia "remains open for dialogue" with its polar neighbors, but will "strongly and persistently" defend its interests in the region.
    http://news.yahoo.com/russia-deploy-...123709564.html

    Hmmm. From 2010

    Russia will not create an Arctic military force irrespective of any territorial disputes that may develop in the energy-rich region, said the Russian envoy to the eight-nation Arctic Council.

    “Forming special Arctic troops is not on the Russian agenda,” Anton Vasilyev told a news conference on Monday. “But we did indeed plan to strengthen the materiel of the forces responsible for security, primarily in ensuring the safety of navigation at sea.”
    http://rt.com/news/arctic-russia-no-militarisation/

    From 2009

    Russia signalled its determination to win the race for the Arctic's mineral wealth yesterday by announcing plans to establish military bases along its northern coastline.

    A new national security strategy includes plans to create army units in Russia's Arctic region to “guarantee military security in different military-political situations”.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle5989257.ece

    A Backgrounder

    Rising tensions

    While the Antarctic is a non-militarised scientific and nature reserve, the Arctic includes the territory and inhabitants of eight states. Of the five states fronting the Arctic Ocean, Russia has by far the largest coastline, more than 17,500 kilometres long, and the largest Arctic population. As much as 20% of Russian GDP derives from north of the Arctic Circle. The Arctic Ocean and its shores are by no means the highly militarised zone of confrontation they were during the Cold War, but climate change, proceeding at a much higher rate in the Arctic than in the rest of the world, and the retreating ice cap, are giving it a new strategic importance. The region is now economically as well as militarily significant. In 2009 the US Geological Survey estimated that this area, where some maritime boundaries remain at issue among the coastal states, contains some 30% of the world’s undiscovered natural gas and about 13% of the world’s undiscovered oil, mainly offshore under less than 500 metres of water. The undiscovered natural gas is mainly concentrated in Russia. These estimates suggest that Russia is likely to end up with the largest share of Arctic resource wealth and that its strategic control of natural-gas resources is likely to be strengthened in the future.
    http://www.iiss.org/publications/sur...tic-stability/

    See also
    http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/land-te.../index-eng.asp
    and
    http://www.usarak.army.mil/alaskapos...r18Story11.asp
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    US and Russia stir up political tensions over Arctic

    Heavy-hitting US politicians enter debate about the future of the far north, fuelling concerns about a new cold war
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011...ensions-arctic

    US, Canada, Russia, Denmark and Norway are becoming embroiled in disputes over boundaries on land and at sea
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011...torial-dispute
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    US and Russia stir up political tensions over Arctic

    Heavy-hitting US politicians enter debate about the future of the far north, fuelling concerns about a new cold war
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011...ensions-arctic

    US, Canada, Russia, Denmark and Norway are becoming embroiled in disputes over boundaries on land and at sea
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011...torial-dispute
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    Tension is building in the Arctic, where countries are vying for valuable natural resources
    More oil, natural gas and mineral deposits can be accessed now because of climate change
    There have been territorial disputes over the underwater land where these deposits rest
    The Arctic is now seeing naval and military activities it hasn't seen since the Cold War
    http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/americ...ars/index.html
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    Tension is building in the Arctic, where countries are vying for valuable natural resources
    More oil, natural gas and mineral deposits can be accessed now because of climate change
    There have been territorial disputes over the underwater land where these deposits rest
    The Arctic is now seeing naval and military activities it hasn't seen since the Cold War
    http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/americ...ars/index.html
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    Russia will order three nuclear and six diesel icebreakers by 2020 to allow passage along its Northern Sea Route as the country seeks to tap Arctic oil and gas reserves, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.
    Read more: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/busine...#ixzz1YuIes3Ez
    The Moscow Times

    Moscow - Russia will increase its military presence in the Arctic - a region NATO should stay out of, a senior Kremlin official said Tuesday.
    'Our northern border used to be closed because of ice and a severe climate,' said Anton Vasilev, a special ambassador for Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
    'But the ice is going away we cannot leave 20,000 kilometres unwatched. We can't leave ourselves in a position where we are undefended,' Vasilev said, in an interview with the Interfax news agency.
    http://www.monstersandcritics.com/ne...EU-to-stay-out
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    Default LNG Ship - Norway to Japan via the Arctic

    LNG Transport Ship Ob River (Dynagas LTD - Greece)



    Gas tanker Ob River attempts first winter Arctic crossing, By Matt McGrath, 25 November 2012 Last updated at 19:35 ET, BBC News, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20454757

    A large tanker carrying liquified natural gas (LNG) is set to become the first ship of its type to sail across the Arctic.
    Built in 2007 with a strengthened hull, the Ob River can carry up to 150,000 cubic metres of gas. The tanker was loaded with LNG at Hammerfest in the north of Norway on 7 November and set sail across the Barents Sea. It has been accompanied by a Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker for much of its voyage.
    "Nineteen thousand ships went through the Suez canal last year; around 40 went through the northern sea route. There's a huge difference."
    Sapere Aude

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    Default Arctic ice loss (new graph)

    Arctic ice shrinks to its annual minimum in (early) September and usually maxes out in April.
    This graph uses one colour for each month, then graphs the monthly averages by year (based on PIOMAS data). The resulting image makes it look as if we're painting ourselves into a corner/bulls-eye.

    Original posting is here:
    http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2013/...loss.html#more
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick M View Post
    Arctic ice shrinks to its annual minimum in (early) September and usually maxes out in April.
    This graph uses one colour for each month, then graphs the monthly averages by year (based on PIOMAS data). The resulting image makes it look as if we're painting ourselves into a corner/bulls-eye.
    FSB Border Guard is looking to stand up 20 posts in the arctic. All I know is that they will be the most degenerate outposts in Russia – which is saying something.

    Upgrades to the Northern Fleet seem to be mechanism to (further) enrich Vladimir Vladimirovich's Peterersburg cronies more than anything else.

    Rosneft signed another arctic agreement with Exxon this week.
    “[S]omething in his tone now reminded her of his explanations of asymmetric warfare, a topic in which he had a keen and abiding interest. She remembered him telling her how terrorism was almost exclusively about branding, but only slightly less so about the psychology of lotteries…” - Zero History, William Gibson

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    On Monday, Russian Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev said Russia is planning to build a string of new naval bases in the Arctic. The bases are intended to be “key double-purpose sites” for warships “in remote areas of the Arctic Seas.” There’s no word on what those double purposes might be. Russia’s plans to create a “combined-arms force” for the Arctic is also still on track, according to Moscow-based news wire RIA Novosti.
    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/08/arctic/
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    Default As Arctic Ice Melts, US Military Adapting Strategy, Forces

    As Arctic Ice Melts, US Military Adapting Strategy, Forces

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tukhachevskii View Post
    Is it just me or does anyone else think SWC has real potential as an OSINT site?
    Inconceivable!

    Earlier in October, Putin stated strongly that Russia would never “surrender” its Arctic area. Indeed, Temp airfield located on Kotelny Island, the largest of Russian islands in Novosiberian region, is being reactivated.

    The airfield has been operational beginning in 1949 then, 20 years ago, its activity was suspended, and the infrastructures preserved for future use. Since then, Russian policy towards Arctic has become more aggressive and one of the elements of that policy is to reinstate the aforementioned airfield for Russian Air Force planes.

    In 2012, a helicopter crash occured during a Russian specialists’ visit to the island. Nobody died, but the mishap halted the reactivation activities. This year people and equipment were delivered by sea. Back in September an expedition included 150 people, 40 machines and vehicles.
    http://theaviationist.com/2013/12/08...a-arctic-base/

    So who plays Patrick MCGoohan's role?

    MOSCOW, December 2 (RIA Novosti) – Russian naval forces are set to make the Arctic a priority region, boosting combat training and scouting lesser-known areas of the icy territory in 2014, a navy spokesman said Monday.

    The Northern Fleet will conduct sailing and diving expeditions in the Arctic and develop a series of ice-class patrol ships to protect the country’s interest in the region, said Vadim Serga, a captain First Class and spokesman for the fleet’s Western Military District.

    Russia has already begun deploying aerospace defense units and constructing an early missile warning radar system near the far northern town of Vorkuta. Completion of that system is planned for 2018.
    http://en.ria.ru/russia/20131202/185...y-in-2014.html


    ...and from five hours ago, usual provocative Squadron operations are provocative.

    Japan on Friday ordered its air force to track the movement of two Russian nuclear-capable planes that were flying close to Japanese airspace, RIA Novosti reported.

    The pair of long-range Tupolev Tu-160 bombers were said by the Japanese military to have flown close to Japan's Hokkaido island and past Honshu island.

    Though the bombers did not trespass into Japanese airspace, the island nation's jets were scrambled as a preventative measure, according to the Japanese military.
    http://www.nationaljournal.com/globa...mbers-20131209
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    This article is from last September, setting up a base in the New Siberian Islands. I had to look up where those where
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Siberian_Islands

    http://www.golos-ameriki.ru/content/...c/1751157.html

    Russia to restore the Soviet military base in the Arctic, which was abandoned after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    This was announced by President Vladimir Putin .

    This step is part of the transformation of the northern coast of Russia in the global shipping route and secure the vast energy resources of the region.

    Base on the New Siberian Islands, has not been used for twenty years, but recently , Russia sent him to a group of four nuclear-powered icebreakers and 10 warships to signal the restoration of a permanent military presence in the Arctic .

    Flotilla headed by the Russian nuclear cruiser "Peter the Great " was held on the Northern Sea Route from Europe to Asia through the Russian waters - from the Kara Gate to the Bering Strait .

    " Our military is left there in 1993 , and yet it is a very important point in the Arctic Ocean . Mean and a new stage of development of the Northern Sea Route ", - Putin said at a meeting in the Ministry of Defence .

    " We agreed that at this point we not only recreate a military base , but let me order airfield , make it possible to participate in teamwork MOE representatives , hydrologists , professionals who deal with climate, to ensure the safety and efficiency of operations in the North sea way , so that Russia could effectively control this part of its territory, " - said the Russian president more .

    Russia is making big bets on the development of huge reserves of Arctic energy and busy shipping route is an integral part of this plan .

    Climate warming has led to greater melting ice in the Arctic and the lengthening of the navigation period , which gives hope that the Northern Sea Route can be a shorter alternative to the southern routes .

    However, experts point out that poor infrastructure , ice floes , narrow straits , shallow waters and harsh winters preclude the safe and profitable shipping in the region.
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    Default Russia in the Artic

    I thought I'd posted these two news items from hitherto unknown news resource.

    The paratroopers from the 98th Paratroopers Division in Ivanovo were dropped over the island of Kotelny on Friday in a show of strength in Arctic conditions.....As previously reported, the Russian Northern Fleet late 2013 took major efforts in the reopening of the Temp airfield at Kotelny....The Island of Kotelny in the period 1933-1993 housed a research station and military base.
    Link:http://barentsobserver.com/en/securi...-we-come-17-03

    I am sure this is the island AdamG posted on three days ago.

    OK, not Russia, but Norway's presence in the Barents Sea continues:http://barentsobserver.com/en/securi...-spyship-17-03
    davidbfpo

  20. #20
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Starting from 2017, the Russian Air Force will base MiG-31 interceptor jets and tactical aircraft at a Russian Arctic airfield in the urban settlement of Tiksi in northernmost Sakha Republic, Commander Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev said Wednesday.
    http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/rus...83496/+pgeorge
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


    http://i.imgur.com/IPT1uLH.jpg

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