04:46 GMT19 February 2020
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    Neglected after the fall of the USSR, the Arctic, home to an estimated 20% of undiscovered global oil reserves, is suddenly being seen as essential to Russia’s national sovereignty, according to French financial newspaper Les Echos, and Moscow is poised to defend its national interests there, far away from the wars raging in Ukraine and Syria.

    Moscow has once again set forth to conquer the Arctic, Les Echos notes. It quotes the recent statements of Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the defense industry Dmitry Rogozin, who is also the Head of Russia’s State Commission for the Arctic.

    Russia will spend 1.3 billion rubles (about $20 million) over the next 15 years to develop new technology for exploring the Arctic region, Rogozin said earlier in June at the Tekhnoprom forum in Siberia's main city, Novosibirsk.

    The Russian government will spend the money building new vessels and developing technology for exploring Arctic shelf deposits.

    According to the Deputy Prime Minister, Russia's goal is to reduce its dependence on foreign equipment, including in the field of seismic studies. The country will need heat preservation technologies, new construction materials, and communication resources.

    Rogozin said that about 90 percent of research equipment currently used by Russia in the Arctic region is built from foreign components. Thus, the country must invest in developing its own technology in order to avoid being vulnerable to international politics and tension.

    The Arktika, the first vessel in the series of three Project 22220 LK-60 Nuclear Icebreakers being built by Baltic Shipyard Shipbuilding.
    © Sputnik / press service of the company "Baltic Shipyard"
    The newspaper also notes that earlier in June, Russia's new Project 22220 nuclear-powered icebreaker, dubbed "Arktika," had been launched from the Baltic Shipyard in Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg.

    Dmitry Rogozin also said that by 2020 Russia will commission three nuclear icebreakers.

    “We have plans to build three nuclear icebreakers: in 2017, 2018 and 2020,” the Deputy Prime Minister said earlier in June.

    “There is a lively discussion concerning the Arctic even in Western society. Everyone understands the importance of this region. For that reason, we must have all the necessary technical tools to go and stay there,” he stressed.

    Rogozin noted that this will help clear the way for gas tankers with deadweight of no less than 200,000 tons, which will enable Russia to be the true master of the unique gas deposits there.

    He also said that Russia is developing special robots for underwater operations in the Arctic.

    Even though, the newspaper says, President Putin has urged to keep the Arctic as a zone of peace and cooperation, judging by Russia’s military presence in the region, Moscow will now “go all the way” in defending its national sovereignty right there.


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    national interests, sovereignty, Dmitry Rogozin, Arctic, Russia
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