15:54 GMT07 August 2020
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    The Russian armed forces have created one more air defence division in the Arctic region, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on 28 February, pointing to the guaranteed security of the Northern Sea Route, Russia's main Arctic shipping path.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday signed a decree approving the document on the basics of Russia's state policy concerning Arctic development by 2035, according to the official internet portal containing legal information.

    The decree comes into force on the day of its signing.

    The document identifies the main targets, key goals, strategic priorities and mechanisms for implementation of Russia’s state policy in the Arctic, as well as a system of strategic planning for social and economic development of Russia’s Arctic zone and provision of Russia’s national security in the Arctic region.

    "As of 2020, as part of implementing the Russian Federation's policy in the Arctic, a general operation force grouping of the Russian Federation's Armed Forces has been created in the Russian Federation's Arctic zone, which is capable of ensuring military security in different military and political conditions", the document read.

    Apart from this, a coastal defence system of the Russian Federal Security Service has been created in the region. It is already in active service.

    According to the document, the growing foreign military presence in the Arctic region and the fact that Russia's activities there are being discredited are the key challenges that Russian national security faces.

    The decree comes after Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu stated that the Russian armed forces had ensured the security of the Northern Sea Route, with the Northern Fleet, the Airborne Troops, the Aerospace Forces, and the Special Operations Forces conducting regular exercises on "protecting important industrial facilities and Russia's economic interests in the Arctic area".

    Strengthening Russian troops in the Arctic region remains a priority of the Defence Ministry, Shoigu went on to say.

    Russia, which is preparing to assume the rotating presidency at the Arctic Council next year, has been alarmed by the increasing presence of NATO in the region.

    Moscow is seeking to turn its Arctic region into a green shipping lane. The so-called Northern Sea Route aims to open it up to navigation by 2035.

    Tags:
    security, presidential decree, Sergei Shoigu, Arctic, Russia
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