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Russia Builds New Arctic Military Base

Russia's Defense Ministry has completed its third Arctic military installation, as Moscow ramps up defenses on its northern border amid an international push for control of the resource-rich territory.  

The modular building, located on Alexandra Land island, includes a sauna, psychological evaluation room and sports facilities, as well as eating, sleeping and medical quarters, according to a press release issued last week by Russia's Federal Ministry of Special Construction.

Russia's two other completed bases are on Wrangel Island and Cape Schmidt in the Chukchi Sea close to the U.S. state of Alaska.

President Vladimir Putin has championed the increasing militarization of Arctic in recent years, calling in April for a unified Arctic military command structure. By the end of 2015, Russia hopes to restore all formerly Soviet Arctic defense installations to full operational use.

As the Arctic's thick ice recedes, countries with claims to the region's underwater shelf have vied for control of the rich natural resources buried deep underwater. Although estimates vary, some put undiscovered reserves of oil and gas in the region at up to 13 percent of the world's total. Denmark, Norway, Canada and the U.S. all have territorial claims to the Arctic.

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