Support The Moscow Times!

Russian Military Opens 2nd Arctic Base

Russian troops moved into the Defense Ministry's second base erected recently in environmentally protected territories in the Arctic, RIA Novosti reported Thursday.

The autonomous base — shaped like a five-point star — is located on Cape Schmidt in the far-eastern Chukotka region.

Lieutenant Colonel Sergei Surovikin, who announced the settlement, did not say how many troops were stationed at the base.

But he said work in Chukotka would continue, with a drone detachment to be deployed by the year's end, and an airport on the cape set to be built in 2015.

In late October, Russian troops move into a base on Wrangel Island, 140 kilometers north of Cape Schmidt.

Wrangel Island, which has been dubbed a "polar bear nursery," is a UNESCO world heritage site, and Cape Schmidt, which hosts a walrus rookery of 40,000 pinnipeds, is a regional wildlife reserve.

Two more Arctic bases are set to open by 2015, on Kotelny Island off the coast of Yakutia — a federal nature reserve — and Alakurtti village on the Finnish border, to host a motorized infantry brigade, which usually numbers around 7,000.

Construction in natural reserves is prohibited by law, but it has nevertheless continued, perhaps reflecting Russia's zeal in the "Arctic race."

Moscow has laid claim to 1.2 million kilometers of Arctic shelf with the hopes of exploiting the area for its vast reserves of oil and gas allegedly found close to the North Pole.

Arctic expansion has been slammed by environmentalists, who say drilling in the Arctic is too costly to be profitable and a deadly hazard for fragile local ecosystems.

On Thursday, a tanker spilled some 200 kilograms of oil in the far-eastern port of Vladivostok, the third spill in the region since June, RIA Novosti reported.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more