07:26 GMT10 July 2020
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    The Russian Navy will kick-off the construction of its first diesel-electric icebreaker over a few decades next week, Navy Commander Adm. Viktor Chirkov said Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The vessel would have a cruising range of 12,000 nautical miles and an endurance run of two months, a Navy commander said.

    The ship will be capable of breaking ice that is 80 cm (or more than 30 inches) thick, according to Chirkov.

    "On April 23, the Admiralteiskie Verfi [Admiralty Shipyards] company in St. Petersburg will start constructing the Ilya Muromets diesel-electric icebreaker due to become the first one for the [Russian] Navy for a few decades," he said.

    Russia is looking to build up its presence in the oil- and gas-rich Arctic region in accordance with the country's revised military doctrine, signed by President Vladimir Putin in December 2014.

    The document named the protection of national interests in the Arctic among the main priorities for its army in times of peace, for the first time ever.

    President Putin said that although Russia did not plan to militarize the Arctic, but would take necessary steps to ensure its defense capabilities in the region.


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