Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Moscow Thinking about Creating an Arctic Fleet, TASS Reports

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 7 – Citing anonymous Russian government sources, the TASS news agency says that Moscow is currently thinking about creating an Arctic Fleet to defend both the Northern Sea Route and to protect Russia’s national interests in the North more generally, including the development of natural resources there.

            According to its source, TASS continues, “the issue of establishing a new structure, the Arctic Fleet of Russia, is now being considered.” The new fleet would carve out its responsibilities from the Northern and Pacific Fleets which currently divide the coverage of the enormous northern area (tass.ru/armiya-i-opk/12599019).

            At least initially, the infrastructure for the new fleet and its bases would come from the existing resources of the Northern and Pacific Fleets, but with time, the new fleet would acquire more of its own, including in particular icebreakers and naval aviation. Thus, it would not involve massive new spending.

            The Russian Navy currently has four fleets – the Baltic, Pacific, Black Sea, and Northern – and the Caspian flotilla. If an Arctic fleet is created, it would be the fifth.

            The Vzglyad newspaper surveyed expert opinion about the prospects for such a fleet. Those with whom it spoke were divided about the utility of such a move, but on the whole, they said that the pluses were greater than the minuses and that Moscow would be well advised to go ahead (vz.ru/society/2021/10/7/1122931.html).

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