Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Russian warships to return to Arctic waters

AP: Russia announced Monday that it is sending warships to patrol Arctic waters for the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union — the latest move to increase the country's global military presence. Patrols by the Northern Fleet's Severomorsk submarine destroyer and Marshal Ustinov missile cruiser will begin Thursday, Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo said.

…"We have been talking for a long time about widening our activity in the Arctic," Dygalo said. "There is nothing aggressive in it — it is in the interests of security." Former President Vladimir Putin expanded Russian military patrols and Dmitry Medvedev, who succeeded Putin in May, appears to be maintaining that course.

Moscow-based military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer said security was not Russia's primary motivation in sending the Navy ships to the Arctic. "This is flag-waving and that's basically it," Felgenhauer said. "Sending a couple of patrol boats to the Arctic won't change anything."….

Portion of 1599 map of Arctic exploration by Willem Barentsz. Spitsbergen, here mapped for the first time, is indicated as "Het Nieuwe Land" (Dutch for "the New Land"), center-left. Wikimedia Commons

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