Putin Looks to Expand Into Arctic With Nuclear Icebreaker

Skip to first unread message


Jan 29, 2024, 1:20:08 PMJan 29
to Arctic Security Discussion

Putin Looks to Expand Into Arctic With Nuclear Icebreaker



Jan 26, 2024

By Jon Jackson

Associate Editor

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday approved construction of a nuclear icebreaker, which could help expand his country's trade routes.

Putin granted permission for the ship—dubbed "Leningrad"—to be built, during a keel-laying ceremony in St. Petersburg, according to Russian-state news agency TASS.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) noted the news of the nuclear-powered icebreaker, which carves through ice to create better passage routes for cargo ships, comes as Moscow looks to open up its commercial trade in the Arctic north.

"Under Western sanctions for its Ukraine offensive, Russia is hoping to rely on the Northern Sea Route—a shipping lane that traverses the Arctic Ocean—to enable more trade with Asia by cutting distances and costs," AFP wrote.


In this pool photo distributed by Russian state-owned news agency Sputnik, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday is seen at the keel-laying ceremony of the "Leningrad," a nuclear-powered icebreaker, in Saint Petersburg. The Leningrad will... 


During Friday's ceremony at the Baltic Shipyard, Andrey Kostin, chairman of the board of directors for Russia's United Shipbuilding Corporation, asked Putin for "permission to install a tonnage board on the first compartment of the future

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

"Let it be done," Putin replied, according to TASS.

Newsweek reached out to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs via email on Friday for further comment.

The Russian president also reportedly acknowledged the icebreaker would be used for "the most important exploration in the Arctic" and mentioned several Russian regions where he expects his fleet of icebreakers will soon be used.

"There in Chukotka, in Yamal, in Taimyr, in Yakutia, in all our other Arctic regions, such new powerful icebreakers and other high ice class vessels are very much awaited," Putin said. "We will definitely consistently solve these issues, expand our Arctic fleet, set new ambitious goals ahead of us. We will continue working in this direction."

Russia is currently the only country in the world that builds and operates nuclear icebreakers.

The Leningrad is a fifth-generation nuclear-powered icebreaker. TASS reported the ship will be 173.3 meters (approximately 568.6 feet) long, 34 meters (about 111.5 feet) wide and 52 meters (170.6 feet) high. The news agency also said the Leningrad is designed to last for 40 years and will manned by a crew of 52 people.

The beginning of work on the Leningrad is only one step toward solving what some have said is a larger issue. In the fall, reports emerged of Russia experiencing a shortage of icebreaking vessels, leading to speculation that Putin would have difficulty achieving the goals of a plan he laid out with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

During Xi's visit to Moscow in March, Putin announced a joint working body to develop the Northern Sea Route as an alternative path to the Suez Canal.

However, Russia's official in charge of Arctic development, Alexei Chekunkov, told the business newspaper RBC in September that Putin's plan to double the cargo supplied via the Northern Sea Route by 2024 could be hampered by a worldwide shortage of icebreakers.

Chekunkov cited a lack of shipyards capable of producing icebreakers as the cause of the shortage, adding it takes "not months, but years" to build one of the ice-carving ships.


David Harries

Jan 29, 2024, 1:59:25 PMJan 29
to adele-...@rogers.com, Arctic Security Discussion

How many modern/nuclear-powered icebreakers does Russia have?

This 2020 article offers some useful context: 




You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Arctic Nuclear-Weapon-Free discussion, sponsored by Canadian Pugwash" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to unsub...@googlegroups.com">arctic-nuclear-weapon-free+unsub...@googlegroups.com.
To view this discussion on the web, visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/arctic-nuclear-weapon-free/12ef01da52df%24c7476320%2455d62960%24%40rogers.com.

Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages