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Russia to create Arctic troops - defense minister

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Russia will deploy troops in the north to defend its interests in the Arctic region, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Friday.

Russia will deploy troops in the north to defend its interests in the Arctic region, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Friday.

"The General Staff is currently drafting plans to establish two such formations. Those plans should take into account deployment sites, armaments, number of servicemen and infrastructure," the defense minister said.

He added that the troops may be stationed in northern Russian cities of Murmansk or Arkhangelsk, but other variants are also being considered.

Similar formations have been created in other Arctic states, such as Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reiterated on Thursday that Russia will not backtrack on its territorial claims on the underwater Lomonosov and Mendeleev ridges in the Arctic region and will protect its geopolitical interests "firmly and consistently."

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