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Russian Navy begins Arctic exercises

The focus will be on ensuring the safety of Russia's economic activity
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AP/VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV  -   Russian soldier stands guard in the archipelago of the New Siberian Islands, between the Laptev and East Siberian Seas

This Monday in the Arctic, the Russian Navy's Northern Fleet has begun major large-scale exercises in conjunction with other branches of the Armed Forces involving warships, nuclear and diesel submarines, as well as air defence systems, the Defence Ministry said.

The manoeuvres are being conducted under the command of the commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov. In the first stages of the trials, various units and equipment of the Northern Fleet were deployed to the open sea. Air Force and Air Defence Force troops also began to move their respective units to Russian airfields established in the Arctic.

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REUTERS/SERGEI KARPUKHIN - Russian military personnel guard a military base in Nagurskoye in the Arctic archipelago of Franz Josef Land

"Today in the Northern Fleet an interspecific command staff exercise began, which is being conducted under the overall leadership of the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov. In the first stages of the exercise, the military command and control bodies of the Northern Fleet, formations, as well as individual military units of the fleet, reach a higher degree of combat readiness," the military department told RIA Novosti.

The defence ministry clarified that within the framework of the practical action plan, the deployment of nuclear submarines and naval forces of the Northern Fleet at sea has begun. It added that army corps units were moved to the concentration zones, and that the Air Force and the Air Defence Army began transferring forces to operational airfields in the Arctic and building defence in the Arctic direction.

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REUTERS/SERGEI KARPUKHIN - Russian border marking at the Nagurskoye military base on the Arctic islands of Franz Josef Land

According to the ministry, special attention will be paid to the exercise of "ensuring the safety of objects of Russia's economic activity in the Arctic, conducting rescue operations and providing assistance at sea". It will also focus on resolving potential crisis situations and protecting maritime communications.

The Ministry noted that the Northern Fleet Army will participate in various stages of the exercises, as well as nuclear and diesel submarines, ships of the Kola Flotilla of various forces and formations of missile ships, support ships, army corps units, aircraft, military and special equipment of the Air Force and Air Defence. 

The level of training of the Northern Fleet's military command and control bodies in planning and carrying out actions to resolve crisis situations in the Arctic Ocean region will also be tested. It will also test the management of interspecific groupings in the context of resolving these problems.

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PHOTO/AP - Russian nuclear submarines dismantled at their Arctic base at Severomorsk on Russia's Kola Peninsula

The Ministry of Defence noted that the exercises complement the operational and combat training activities of the command and military control of the fleet in the winter training period.

Last Friday, during the Umka exercise in the Arctic, the Russian Navy tested the latest SWIR infrared camera, which is capable of seeing through snow and camouflage. They also noted that participation in an 18-day expedition to Novaya Zemlya allowed the military to "fully evaluate and confirm its advantages, including on the subject of object detection and identification in difficult weather conditions".