Russia Launches New Arctic Military Drills
A Russian officer and soldiers stand next to a special military truck at the Russian northern military base on Kotelny island, beyond the Arctic Circle on April 3, 2019. Photo: Maxime Popov/AFP
HERCULES REYES AUGUST 6, 2021
The Russian Northern Fleet has launched a new series of drills in the Arctic.
“A command and staff exercise has kicked off for the Northern Fleet under the direction of its Commander Hero of Russia Admiral Alexander Moiseyev to practice command and control of troops and forces,” the fleet’s press office said. “Overall, the drills involve more than 10,000 personnel, 70 items of the armor, up to 15 aircraft, and about 30 combat ships, submarines, and support vessels.”
The Northern Fleet Air Force and Air Defense Army will conduct ground and air exercises involving warships, submarines, and support vessels. Ships from the Kola Flotilla of All-Arms Forces and divisions of the fleet’s missile ships will also be participating.
“The drills aim to assess the practical skills of headquarters officers in troop command and control, practice timed operations, and accomplish combat exercises employing weapons as part of groupings of all-arms forces,” the office further stated.
The press office also said that these exercises will help the command assess the preparedness of the Fleet’s forces in future large-scale drills later this year.
Russia in March also conducted Arctic military exercises at a time of growing tension with the West, particularly the United States, near Alexandra Land on the Franz Josef Land archipelago.
In a statement at the time, retired Russian admiral Viktor Kravchenko said that the maneuvers should remind the US that it has competition in the region and that Russia has “been here for a long time.”
In February, the US deployed long-range B-1 bombers to train in Norway, a show of force that harkened back to the Cold War.
During the 1990s, the two former rivals established diplomatic and trade relations. However, the 2000s brought growing tension after the election of Vladimir Putin and alleged Russian interference in the 2016 and 2020 US presidential elections.