Published On: Thu, Aug 22nd, 2019

Russia news: Putin ramps up defences against NATO in Europe and Arctic amid Greenland row | World | News


Putin has flexed his military might around the world in recent months as he seeks to counter NATO expansion. With moves already made in the Middle East, South America and Eastern Europe, the Arctic appears to be next on Moscow’s agenda. It comes as Trump urged other G7 nations to allow Russia to rejoin the group of advanced countries who are set to meet this weekend.

Russian officials sent a battalion of specially-crafted Arctic surface-to-air missiles to the Murmansk region in northern Russia.

It will beef up the Northern Fleet’s already-strong motor rifle brigade operating in the region.

The unit joined up with the brigade to carry out combat duties for the first time yesterday.

A Northern Fleet spokesperson said: “The unit has been deployed at a practice range of land and coastal defence troops in the Pechenga district of the Murmansk Region.

“The personnel are practicing measures to provide for airspace control and point air defence.

“The personnel of the air defence battalion has undergone a full course of training at the training centre and accomplished the first live-fire exercise at a military range in the Astrakhan Region.”

The missile system is part of the Russian Tor range, which Moscow commonly deploys.

As it is operating in the Arctic, the battalion is made up of Tor-M2DT systems, which can engage in combat at temperatures as low as -50C.

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Earlier this month Norway defence chief Admiral Haakon Bruun-Hanssen claimed Moscow wanted to deny NATO access to the Baltic, North, and Norwegian Seas.

Putin’s arctic push is nothing new – in May he announced plans to use his country’s fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers to increase Russian shipping in the region.

Analyst Alan Dowd suggested that the Russian strongman was interested in the Northwest Passage – which is now thawing for longer stretches of time each year – and the region’s vast resources.

This interest may stretch to Greenland, which Trump inquired about purchasing from Denmark over the weekend.

Guardian columnist Richard Wolffe suggested that this is “another sign of Putin’s puppet American presidency at work”.

He claimed Putin was trying to weaken a loyal NATO member by straining ties between Copenhagen and Washington.

Elsewhere, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced today that Moscow will take measures to address NATO’s military buildup on Russia’s Western borders.

In response to US missile defence systems being deployed in Poland and Romania, he said: “We will take comprehensive measures to thwart the emerging threats.”



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