ST.PETERSBURG, May 21 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Northern Fleet is planning new expeditions to the Arctic regions this summer, a spokesman for the fleet has said.
"This year we intend to continue laying the route through the temporarily forgotten water regions of the Arctic seas,” Andrei Korablev said at a roundtable on securing Russia’s national interests in the Arctic.
The fleet is planning expeditions to the islands of Franz Josef Land, Severnaya Zemlya, the New Siberian Islands and Wrangel Island. "We will continue to study the Arctic Ocean, conduct scientific research and meteorological observations, study the navigation and hydrographic conditions, correct charts and sailing directions, survey the geodetic stations in the Arctic, as well as explore the areas of navigation for ships of non-ice class," Korablev said.
The studies are to be carried out not only in the interests of the military, but also to ensure maritime economic activities in the Russian Arctic, as well as to preserve the Northern Sea Route as a national transport system.
"In addition, we plan to create military infrastructure on almost all the islands and archipelagos of the Arctic Ocean in order to create a unified system of monitoring the air, surface and underwater conditions," Korablev noted.
Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated on April 22 that Russia is also actively engaged in the Arctic region to protect its national security and economic interests.
The Russian Defense Ministry has already announced plans to reopen airfields and ports on the New Siberian Islands and the Franz Josef Land archipelago, as well as at least seven airstrips on the continental part of the Arctic Circle that were mothballed in 1993.