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Russian Military Plans Cleanup of Soviet-Era Trash in Arctic

The Russian military will clean up the Arctic from an accumulation of debris such as discarded Soviet-era aircraft and old fuel barrels, the defense minister said.

"The president of our country, commander-in-chief Vladimir Putin, has initiated a large-scale program on clearing the Arctic from all the heritage of past decades or, to be more precise, centuries," state news agency RIA Novosti quoted Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as telling a meeting at his ministry Tuesday.

"The garbage is mostly discarded aircraft that were produced in the 1960s," along with "thousands of tons of old, expired oil products, tens of thousands of barrels," he said.

Shoigu said cargo ships delivering supplies to military bases on Arctic islands would carry trash on their return trips.

Russia has been seeking to expand its military presence in the Arctic, a region with vast natural resources. The increased military construction has prompted concerns about environmental risks.

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