Published on: Oct 4, 2018 @ 14:07 – The Rhône ship of the French Navy for the first time crossed the Maritime Route of the North, being observed by Russian radars, thereby violating Russian coastal waters. Generally, the French ship is anchored in the port of Brest in France, but departed from Tromso in Norway in September, traveling through the Russian Arctic seas and crossing the Bering Strait, arriving on September 17 at Dutch Harbor on the island Unalaska, Alaska.
According to a source from the North Sea Route administration, he informed Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper, “when traveling from the Norwegian port to the Aleutian Islands, located near Alaska, the French vessel was observed by the intelligence of the North and Pacific Fleets in their regions of responsibility in the Russian Arctic,” emphasizing that this was the first NATO ship on the Northern Maritime Route. Philippe Guéna, commander of the ship Rhône, explained to the AFP news agency that “the crossing was intended to increase knowledge of the region, as the strategic interest has been growing steadily for France, in addition to having large mineral reserves and hydrocarbons “.
The Rhône is a ship of the Loire class, does not bear arms and aims to offer support to the other ships of the fleet that accompanies it. In addition, it has 70 meters in length and a draft of 5 meters. According to the latest Russian laws, the North Sea Route is expected to be closed to foreign vessels by 2019.
“We are dealing with purely Russian coastal waters, so we protect our shipbuilders,” said Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov. Meanwhile, the Bastion Coastal Defense System will be used for the first time in the training of the Russian Army in the Arctic, to be held soon, North Fleet spokesman Vadim Serga said last week.
“The Bastion Coastal Defense System, adopted in service by the North Fleet Tactical Group on Kotelny Island in the Laptev Sea, will carry out missile launches for the first time as part of the exercises to defend Russian insular territory in the Arctic. Missiles will attack targets at a great distance, simulating a group of ships of a supposed enemy,” said Serga.