MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The expedition, which will also take the vehicles back to the continent, aims to test new military equipment and weapons in Arctic conditions. The total distance covered came to 1,140 kilometers (708 miles), taking the expedition along the Siberian coast up to Cape Svyatoy Nos and then across the Dmitry Laptev and the Sannikov straits.
"The Defense Ministry's arctic expedition… Has reached the Kotelny Island in the New Siberian Islands archipelago. Members of the Defense Ministry expedition were the first in the world to cross from the mainland to Kotelny on board vehicles," Bulgakov said.
The expedition has already carried out some 100 technology tests and done maintenance and repair works, according to Bulgakov.
The expedition also tried out various devices to measure the depth of ice layers, new water-purifying technologies and medical aid equipment.
In December 2014, Moscow unveiled a revised military doctrine that prioritizes the protection of national interests in the Arctic.
Russia has plans to build and equip military facilities mainly on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, the Franz Josef Archipelago, the New Siberian archipelago and the Wrangel Island. It is also expanding trade and exploration activities in the Arctic by building transport and energy production infrastructure, as well as installing military facilities and developing the Northern Sea Route linking Europe and Asia.