Putin greets the Russian navy as three of its nuclear missile submarines break through the polar ice
A very cold war: three Russian nuclear missile submarines surface in the Arctic Circle in a new display of strength
- Three nuclear submarines broke through the polar ice simultaneously and fighter planes flew over the North Pole
- Russia, the US, Canada, Denmark and Norway have tried to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic
- Putin has reinforced Russian navy presence in the Arctic, believed to contain undiscovered oil and gas
Vladimir Putin has praised the Russian Navy after three of its nuclear ballistic missile submarines were smashed by polar ice at a distance from each other in a show of strength.
Navy Chief Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov reported to Putin that the exercise consisted of three nuclear submarines breaking through polar ice simultaneously and warplanes flying over the North Pole.
This week’s exercises were conducted around Alexandra Land, an island that is part of the Franz Josef Land archipelago where the military has recently built a base.
Moscow has prioritized strengthening its military presence in the Arctic, which is believed to account for a quarter of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas.
A Russian nuclear submarine breaks through the polar ice during military exercises. Russia, the US, Canada, Denmark and Norway have all tried to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic
Vladimir Putin praised the military’s performance in recent polar exercises, part of Moscow’s efforts to expand its presence in the polar region
Putin has in the past cited estimates that put the value of the mineral resources in the Arctic at £ 22 trillion.
Russia, the US, Canada, Denmark and Norway have all tried to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic, as the shrinking Arctic ice opens up new opportunities for tapping resources and opening up new shipping routes.
As part of its efforts to establish its control over the Arctic, the Russian military has in recent years rebuilt and expanded numerous Arctic facilities, renewed runways, and deployed additional surveillance and air defense assets.
As part of this week’s maneuvers, a pair of MiG-31 fighters flew over the North Pole, Adm Yevmenov said. A video from the Ministry of Defense showed them being refueled by a tanker plane.
Yevmenov said the advanced maneuver was performed by submarines “for the first time in the history of the Russian Navy.”
Moscow has prioritized strengthening its military presence in the Arctic, which is believed to contain a quarter of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas.
The video also showed three nuclear submarines slamming through the polar ice side by side.
Mr Putin said the exercise was unprecedented for the military and praised its skills. He added that the maneuvers have also proved the reliability of Russian weapons in polar conditions.
“I order the polar expeditions and research to continue in the far north to help ensure the security of Russia,” the president told the naval chief.
The Russian military has expanded the number and scope of its war games amid bitter tensions in its ties with the West, which have sunk to post-Cold War lows following the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean region in 2014.
A MiG-31 fighter of the Russian Air Force is refueled by an Il-78 tanker aircraft during Russian military maneuvers in the Arctic during military exercises in an unspecified location
Putin said, “The polar expedition … has no analogues in the Soviet and modern history of Russia.”
It comes after a British spy plane followed Russian war games in the Arctic, where Moscow says it has completed initial tests on a new hypersonic missile, local media say.
An RC-135W Rivet Joint reconnaissance jet, flown by the RAF, is said to have flown through the air this week near where the Kremlin’s Admiral Gorshkov frigate sailed off the north coast of Russia this week.
The Gorskhov has conducted at least four test launches of the new 6,100 mph Zircon missile, which is expected to enter service next year and which defense chiefs bragged “ hit the bull’s eye ” during testing.
Vladimir Putin sees the Mach 8 Zircon as his favorite missile to hit American cities in the event of a nuclear conflict, it is said.