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Russia unveil virtual tour of Arctic Trefoil military base
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Russia unveils virtual tour of Arctic military base

19/04/17Defence

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.