01:16 GMT27 January 2021
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    The Russian Ministry of Defense has deployed the first detachment of a specially-trained group of troops to the Arctic on a curious new mission.

    The Russian military has deployed the first platoon of military ecologists to the northern Russian city of Norilsk to begin an environmental cleanup operation in the Arctic zone, Deputy Minister of Defense Gen. Dmitri Bulgakov said.

    "The first platoon formed in the Central Military District for environmental cleanup of Defense Ministry territory in the Arctic zone has landed in Norilsk today," Bulgakov said, as quoted by Zvezda, the Russian Defense Ministry's official television network.

    The senior officer said that the army also plans to send a second detachment of 94 servicemen from the 12th Chief Directorate of the Ministry of Defense for environmental cleanup work in the Novaya Zemlya Islands on Monday.

    Novaya Zemlya is located about 1,200 km northwest of Norilsk, an industrial city in Russia's Krasnoyarsk Krai which is about 2,890 km northeast of Moscow. Both territories are located above the Arctic Circle.

    Bulgakov said that the deployment of military ecologists to the Arctic will be completed by early next month. 

    In early June, the military will also deploy several platoons of environmental cleanup troops based in the Eastern Military District to Wrangel Island, Kotelny Island, and Kildin Island.

    According to preliminary estimates by the Defense Ministry, a total of 186 troops will engage in environmental clean-up operations in the Arctic this year. They are expected to collect over 3,900 tons of scrap metal, and do other cleanup work. The troops will be provided with engineering equipment and other specialized tools, as well as the necessary personal safety gear. All personnel have been fully trained in the proper safety measures.


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    environmental cleanup, cleanup, mission, deployment, environment, Russian Military, Russian Ministry of Defense, Dmitry Bulgakov, Russia, Arctic
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