The press office of the Northern Russian Fleet reported on Monday that the installation of the S-400 air defense systems in Novaya Zemlya, the Russian archipelago in the Arctic has occured.
Russia has been intensifying military, commercial and exploration activities in the Arctic through the construction of transportation and energy facilities and the development of the North Sea Route as part of the Northeast Passage, which connects Europe with Asia.
“The Russian Northern Fleet anti-aircraft regiment installed on Yuzhny Island in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago has been completely retrofitted with new S-400 systems,” the statement said.
It is worth mentioning that military personnel were trained to handle new systems and already have handling practice with S-300.
“The newer air defense systems expand the air zone controlled by our military,” said the press officer of the Russian fleet.
Criticism of some countries
Russia’s military intensification in the Arctic is being criticized by some countries, including the United States. Responding to criticism, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was not threatening anyone, stressing that it was merely a guarantee of defense.
In an attempt to avoid conflicts in the Arctic, the region’s major powers, namely Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States, have set up the Arctic Council, a forum for intergovernmental cooperation, with meetings every six months of senior Arctic officers and biennial ministerial meetings.
Russia has increased its power in the Arctic region and established control over key sea lanes, in particular the so-called North Sea Route.
For its part, China is making efforts to fight for the region, intensifying its military presence and acting in accordance with the Belt and Road Initiative.
Currently realizing the importance of the region, the Pentagon plans to conduct exercises and set up expeditionary groups of Marines capable of acting in an arctic environment, as well as to increase partnership with allies in defense of important maritime routes in the region.