MOSCOW, September 7 (RIA Novosti) - Six vessels with personnel and equipment have set off for the New Siberian Islands in Russia’s Extreme North from the North fleet base in the port of Severomorsk in the Barents Sea on Saturday.
“The major goal of the latest expedition of the North fleet ships to the Arctic is to deliver personnel, equipment and property of the North fleet’s tactical group, which starting this year is going to fulfill military service at the New Siberian Islands on a permanent basis,” the North fleet commander, admiral Vladimir Korolyov told the Russian media.
Admiral Korolyov specified the six ships which will be making the journey as the submarine hunter “Admiral Levchenko”, two large landing ships – “St George” and “Kondopoga”, the tanker “Sergey Osipov”, rescue tug “Pamir” and the lifting-and-mooring vessel “Aleksandr Pushkin”.
The ships will be accompanied by several atomic icebreakers, provided by the Rosatom corporation.The route will be monitored by the North fleet aviation for any potential difficulties.
Last year, ten ships went to the New Siberian Islands in September to deliver the first set of equipment and supplies to rebuild the base on the archipelago, which was abandoned in 1993.
Over the past few years, Russia has been pressing ahead with efforts aimed at the development of its northern territories, including hydrocarbon production and development of the Northern Sea Route, which is gaining traction as an alternative to traditional routes from Europe to Asia.
A number of measures have been taken to protect Russia’s interests in the Arctic amid NATO’s increased focus on the region.
In April, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia will build a unified network of naval facilities on its Arctic territories to host advanced warships and submarines as part of a plan to boost protection of the country’s interests and borders in the region.