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    Obama to Announce Expansion of US Ice-Breaker Fleet in Arctic

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    US President Barack Obama, who is currently on a visit to Alaska, will announce plans on Tuesday to enhance the country's heavy icebreaker fleet to provide the United States with the necessary resources for shipping, mining and drilling activities in the Arctic region, Reuters reported.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to the report, Obama will highlight the need to purchase a new heavy icebreaker by 2020 and propose to start planning the purchase of additional vessels.

    White House officials, as quoted by the agency, stressed that at the moment Washington possesses only “three creaky vessels” including only one a heavy duty one.

    "Russia, on the other hand, has 40 icebreakers and another 11 planned or under construction," the officials added.

    Russia has been pressing ahead with efforts to develop its Arctic territories, including hydrocarbon production and the development of the Northern Sea Route, which is gaining importance as an alternative to traditional routes from Europe to Asia. The country has also boosted its military presence in the region.

    Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in April that the country planned to invest 222 billion rubles ($4.3 billion) in its Arctic development program in 2015-2020.


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