Russia announces ambitious Arctic expansion plan
Russia is planning to expand to the Arctic.
ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA — Russia has announced an ambitious expansion plan that will secure its foothold in the Arctic.
The Associated Press reports that while at the Arctic forum in St. Petersburg, President Vladimir Putin revealed plans to increase cargo shipments on the Arctic sea route.
From 20 million metric tons in 2018, the amount of cargo will reach 80 million by 2025.
Russia, the only nation in the world with nuclear icebreakers, is also moving to expand its fleet.
The country has four nuclear icebreakers and is currently in the process of constructing three new ones. By 2035, Russia wants to have a fleet of 13 heavy icebreakers, nine of which will be nuclear-powered.
Ports on both sides of the Northern sea route, specifically Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on the Kamchatka Peninsula, are also set to be expanded.
According to Putin, other ports and infrastructure facilities along the route will also be upgraded, and says foreign companies have been invited to invest in the reconstruction project.
The Moscow Times reports that Russia is already expanding its military presence in the Arctic with new bases and increased air and naval activity.
AP reports that with shrinking polar ice facilitating new opportunities for resource exploration and shipping in the Arctic, countries like Russia, the U.S., Canada, Denmark, and Norway are all trying to assert jurisdiction over the region.
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