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Oct 12, 2021
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The Northern Sea Route will receive power protection

The Northern Sea Route will receive power protection

Photo: Denis Kozhevnikov / TASS

Another one may soon appear in Russia – the Arctic Fleet, which will patrol the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and ensure the safety of ships passing along it. This was reported to TASS by a source in the naval sphere.

According to the interlocutor of the agency, the new structure will be a separate association within the Russian Navy. It will remove the tasks of protecting the NSR and the Arctic coast from the Northern and Pacific fleets, which will allow them to focus on solving combat missions as intended.

The primary infrastructure for the Arctic Fleet, as the source explained, is supposed to be allocated at the initial stage from the Northern and Pacific fleets. But in the future, he will begin to receive his own ships and special equipment that is resistant to extremely low temperatures.

At the moment, there is no official information on this issue. However, indirect confirmation that it is apparently already being discussed can be found in the plans for the development of the Northern Sea Route, which were voiced at a recent meeting of the Federation Council by the Deputy Prime Minister – Plenipotentiary of the President of the Russian Federation in the Far Eastern Federal District Yuri Trutnev

He stressed that “the creation of a new global transport corridor on the basis of the Northern Sea Route is a strategic task.” After all, this route was and remains the shortest sea route to Central Russia and Europe. It is 40% shorter than the route through the Suez Canal. But so far it lags far behind it in terms of traffic volume – 33 million against 1 billion tons per year.

To achieve real competition with the Suez Canal, according to Trutnev, much needs to be done. And one of the tasks is just “building a fleet adapted to the Arctic conditions.”

The plenipotentiary recalled that 5 nuclear icebreakers are currently piloting ships in the waters of the Arctic Ocean. In 2026, 4 more nuclear-powered icebreakers of Project 22220 of the “Arktika” type will be put into operation (one such icebreaker is capable of carrying tankers with a displacement of up to 100 thousand tons through three-meter ice), and by 2027 – the first icebreaker of Project 10510 “Leader”. Also, by the middle of next year, a technical assignment will be prepared for the design and construction of four icebreakers operating on liquefied natural gas.

By the way, it is worth recalling that in July the Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, who oversees the defense industry in the Russian government, reported Vladimir Putin that the most powerful icebreaker in the world “Russia” (the same project 10510), which is capable of breaking four-meter ice, was laid in the Far East. And that in order to ensure year-round navigation along the NSR, several more such vessels will be built.

At the same time, it is no secret that our American “partners” also have their own interests in the Arctic region. Accordingly, they solve security issues in their own way.

So, at the end of September it became known that in the Pentagon these issues will be dealt with by a retired US Air Force general. Randy Key… He was also entrusted with overseeing the creation of the Center. Ted Stevens, which will build “international networks of security leaders to advance US national security priorities” in the Arctic. In other words, to ensure American hegemony in the region.

And here it is important to take into account that Washington really does not like Russia’s legal right to control the Northern Sea Route. This allegedly contradicts the right to free navigation.

In this regard, a very interesting information was published in his Telegram channel by a political scientist Ruslan Ostashko… It turns out on October 15 at the Moscow residence (Spaso House) of the US Ambassador to a round table with the participation of eco-activists, where they plan to discuss the topic of the Arctic. Specifically, to discuss in such a way that, as it were, the “international community” should act as a united front against the exclusive rights of Russia to the Northern Sea Route.

“I invite journalists, bloggers and concerned citizens to visit this event (well, or at least the surroundings of its holding) and ask questions to our eco-activists,“ How much are they selling their homeland today, ”the author urges.

As for the new fleet, so far opinions are divided on this score.

For example, the chief of the main staff of the Russian Navy (1998-2005), Admiral Viktor Kravchenko considers the idea to be justified. Because it would help unload the Northern Fleet, which has recently become the fifth military district.

“Probably, this is correct in the sense that the Northern Fleet already has enough tasks, and here a regional association is being introduced that will deal directly with the Northern Sea Route,” said Kravchenko.

In turn, military expert, captain of the 1st rank of the reserve Vasily Dandykin doubts the advisability of creating an independent Arctic fleet:

– Today we have an Arctic association – this is the Northern Fleet. Its ships are “sharpened” for operations in the Arctic and do an excellent job of protecting our interests in this region. I would call it a military icebreaker “Ilya Muromets“, A universal ice-class patrol ship”Ivan Papanin” etc.

In addition, the Northern Fleet includes the widest range of forces, including submarine and air forces, being in fact an interspecific strategic territorial formation of the RF Armed Forces performing the tasks of a military district.

The main task of this military district is to ensure the country’s security in the Arctic, and, specifically, the security of the Northern Sea Route. From the point of view of air cover, the actions of submarines, surface ships etc. All along the arctic coast.

As for the Pacific Fleet, it really has a lot of work of its own. There – near Kamchatka, in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk – other tasks. And they can touch only when the ships are being guided directly through the Bering Strait and the Bering Sea.

But now there is a desire to make navigation along the NSR year-round. And a lot is already being done for this.

“SP”: – What exactly?

– Over the next few years, five of our modern nuclear icebreakers will be commissioned, including a new generation super-icebreaker of the Leader class, which is already being built at the Zvezda plant in the Far East. He will chop four-meter ice.

That is, everything goes to the fact that the volume of traffic along the northern sea artery will grow significantly. And, of course, it must be protected.

But I don’t think it makes sense to create a special fleet for this. It seems to me that it would be easier to create a separate operational squadron as part of the same Northern Fleet. Let me remind you that in Soviet times the Northern Fleet had such a squadron in the Atlantic.

And now, for example, we have such a grouping in the Mediterranean Sea. It is based on ships and submarines of the Black Sea Fleet, but ships of the Northern and Baltic fleets are also involved. In the Arctic, a similar one can be formed. Because the task of ensuring the security of the region, including economic security, has been assigned to the Northern Fleet. Actually, for this, he was removed from the Western District and became an independent military district.

“SP”: – Where do you think such an operational flotilla can be based?

– Naturally, where the ships of the Northern Fleet are based – in Severomorsk.

At the moment, I repeat, we have everything to secure not only the Northern Sea Route, but in general the country’s interests in the Arctic zone.

And let the Americans’ claims remain with them. They have their own opinion on this matter, we have our own. But only our pilots are able to navigate ships along this route, because there is a very difficult terrain and there are many problems in terms of depth.

For some reason, Americans have always believed that their truth is the truest of all truths. And the Arctic zone was declared a zone of their interests. Recruiting allies in the West. Strengthening the air force in Alaska with ultra-modern F-35 fighters. Which undoubtedly poses certain threats.

But I don’t think all the same that in the Arctic they will go on an adventure similar to the one that the British destroyer Defender carried out in the Black Sea in June of this year. Who also allegedly defended the right to freedom of navigation in the region of the Russian Crimea. Professionals – both in NATO and the Pentagon – are well aware that crossing the “red line” is impermissible.

The President of Russia clearly said that the bear would never give up its taiga. I will allow myself to continue his thought – the polar Russian bear is the same. In the Arctic, he is the boss.

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