Russia replaced the S-300 missile defense systems on Yuzhuny Island of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in northern Russia with its new S-400 Triumph version as part of its plan to increase military presence in the Arctic.

The S-400 is considered the world’s most advanced surface-to-air missile system and can reach enemy targets within a 250-mile radius.

According to analysts quoted by the Russian media RT, the complete rearmament of the Russian North Fleet is a response to the increased military activity of Western powers on the territory, Russian economic projects, and the protection of the North Sea Route.

Russia also plans to build a major military radar facility on the northern end of the Russian continent at Cape Chelyuskin—about 808 miles east of the S-400s—under the official name of “Radiotechnical point Chelyuskin,” Moscow Times said.

The base, which costs approximately $13 million, will be built in the Taimyr region near the Vilkitsky Strait, a place that virtually all shipments along the North Sea pass through.

In addition to Novaya Zemlya’s forces, the Kremlin has set up troops in Franz Josef’s Land, the New Siberian Islands, and several other places, Arab News reported. 

Protection of interests

Putin announced in April the need to make the region “safe and profitable for shippers,” as by 2025 it plans to increase the volume of freight transport along this route from 22 million to 88.1 million tons.

“The North Sea Route began to operate actively. This is a trade route through which not only Russian ships pass, but also ships from other countries. And this is also a safety problem. Therefore, the S-400 is a completely justified step,” said Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak.

“The Arctic is the corridor through which, in the event of a military conflict, various weapons can attack us. In this sense, as part of the creation of a unified aerospace defense system, our air defense shield is being strengthened in the Arctic,” said Igor Korotchenko, a military expert and editor-in-chief of National Defense magazine, specifying that the most likely ballistic attack route from the United States would be through the Arctic.

“An important feature of the S-400 is the ability to defeat the carriers of precision weapons, mainly strategic and tactical aircraft,” the expert concluded.

According to some analysts, the Arctic and its resources could become one of the important targets for the United States, Russia, and China after the 2020s, hence the importance of being the first to secure a military position in the region.

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