Russia unveils virtual tour of Arctic military base19/04/17Defence
The Russian defence ministry has released a ‘virtual tour’ on its website of a new military base in a remote region of the Arctic.
The Arctic Trefoil permanent base is in Franz Josef Land, a desolate archipelago.
The Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the new base in March, and military officials see the resource-rich Arctic as a key strategic region.
The base is built on stilts to help withstand the extreme cold and is to house 150 personnel on 18-month tours of duty.
Covering 14,000m2, it is the second Arctic base to be built for air defence units during Putin’s presidency.
The 360-degree virtual tour shows the main living quarters at Arctic Trefoil, including a central five-storey atrium. The ‘trefoil’ name refers to the main block’s three wings.
The base is self-sufficient in electricity and equipped with a clinic, library, chapel, gym and cinema.
A military expert quoted by RIA news agency, Colonel Viktor Litovkin, said Russia was pursuing several strategic goals in the Arctic:
- Control of international shipping on the Northern Sea Route, including providing alerts about icebergs and severe weather;
- Protecting Russian oil and gas resources in the Arctic; and
- Defending Russia against intrusion by foreign warships and missile threats.
A military airstrip, called Nagurskoye, is also under construction in Franz Josef Land.
Russia is to build four other Arctic military bases – at Rogachevo (Yuzhny Island), Cape Schmidt, Wrangel Island, and at the Sredniy Peninsula near its border with Norway.