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article imageRussia to deploy special army in Arctic

By Richard van der Draay     Mar 29, 2009 in Politics
Moscow – The Russian Federation is to create a special armed force to ‘guarantee the military security of its Arctic areas.’
Border troops will also be reinforced. A plan to that end by the Security Council was signed by President Medvedev in September but only surfaced in the Russian press last week.
The Security Council said on Friday in a further statement that the aim is not ‘to militarise’, but to combat thinks such as ‘terrorism at sea’. The last few years tensions have risen with regards to the question which countries own which polar regions. Apart from Russia there are four NATO countries involved: the United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark. NATO’s Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer announced in January that the alliance will have a ‘military presence’ in the area although it will not be overly large.
A Russian expedition planted a flag under the sea with much bombast in 2007 on the controversial Lomonosov range. This area is also claimed by Canada and Denmark. The latest document states that the area will have to be the main fossil fuel base for Russia between 2016 and 2020.
The increased attention for the precise boundaries on the North Pole is liked to the melting of the polar icecaps. This will offer new chances for oil and gas exploitation.
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