Russia aims at yr-round sailing across Arctic sea

Moscow, April 15 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the country seeks to establish year-round navigation along the Northern Sea Route in the Arctic.”In the coming years, movement along the Northern Sea Route may become year-round, bearing in mind the consequences of possible climate change,” Putin said on Wednesday while addressing a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Geographical Society via video link.The Arctic is a region where the effects of climate change are most obvious, he said, adding that the study of the Arctic is in the interests of all mankind, reports Xinhua news agency.Putin underlined Russia’s ongoing efforts to construct “the world’s most powerful” nuclear-powered icebreaker fleet.Last month, the Russian Navy conducted the “Umka-2021” comprehensive Arctic expedition in the Franz Josef Land archipelago, during which three nuclear-powered missile submarines broke thick ice and surfaced from the Arctic Ocean for the first time in its history.The submarines shattered 1.5-metre-thick ice and ascended to the frozen sea surface at the same time in an area with a radius of 300 metres.More than 600 military and civilian personnel, and about 200 pieces of military and special equipment and weapons are involved in the expedition. Last week, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said that the US Department of Defence is “very closely” monitoring Russian military activities and infrastructure build-ups in the Arctic.In response to Kirby’s remark, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia also keeps in mind the US presence in the Arctic.–IANSksk/

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