Russia’s Cold War navy has been revived to patrol the melting arctic
Russia’s nuclear powered battle cruiser “Peter the Great”
Russia is moving ships to the arctic and rebuilding a naval base in Siberia to begin regular, permanent patrols of the newly open Northern Sea Route, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Russian naval ships haven’t regularly patrolled the arctic since the Cold War, and the Russian fleet has been largely mothballed for the last 25 years. But this month, 10 Russian warships made a 2,000 mile patrol across the country’s northern coastline aided by nuclear-powered ice breakers.
Ship traffic through the arctic region has increased dramatically in the last two years, and the first Chinese Cargo ship to travel the Northeast Passage just completed a transit early this month. But a new cold war threatens to emerge from the icy waters, as disputes have already arisen over which nations own the now-accessible polar real estate.
“Many countries are starting to lay claims to this region, even some that have no northern presence at all, like China and Brazil,” says Viktor Litovkin, military affairs editor of the Moscow daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta. “This has prodded Russia into action, to hang on to our priority and legitimate rights.”