Missile launchers ply icy roads and air defense systems point menacingly into the sky at this Arctic military outpost, a key vantage point for Russia to project power to the resource-rich polar region.
The base, dubbed Severny Klever (Northern Clover) for its trefoil shape, is painted in the colors of the Russian flag and strategically located on the Arctic shipping route.
Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway have all been trying to assert jurisdiction over the Arctic as shrinking polar ice opens fresh opportunities for resource exploration and shipping lanes.
The Kremlin has poured resources into modernizing Soviet-era Arctic facilities to stake its claims on the region’s riches.
The Russian base on Kotelny Island permanently houses up to 250 military personnel who maintain air and sea surveillance facilities and coastal defense assets.