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The new Cold War? Russia sends troops and missiles to the Arctic as Putin stakes a claim for the region’s oil and gas reserves

  • Russia, Norway, Denmark and Canada are fighting over the Arctic territory
  • Putin is building six bases in the Arctic, and sending troops and missiles
  • It’s estimated that billions of tonnes of oil and gas lie beneath the seabed
  • Experts warn it shows willingness to use a military threat to claim the land

Russia is beefing up its military presence in the Arctic, sending troops and missiles to strengthen its position in the competition for the region’s extensive oil and gas reserves.

As well as deploying advanced anti-aircraft missiles to the region, President Vladimir Putin is overseeing the completion of six new bases designed to see off foreign competition for the natural resources.

It is estimated that billions of tonnes of oil and gas lie beneath the seabed, which is currently disputed territory.


The Arctic is the only region in the world where borders remain unregulated, and Russia, Norway, Denmark and Canada have all made submissions to the U.N. claiming ownership of the Arctic seabed and its buried treasures.

Mr Putin’s long-term plan includes the construction of some 13 airfields and 10 radar posts in the Arctic, whose assets also include thriving fisheries.

‘The Arctic has a strategic importance for Russia because of its significant reserves of oil and gas,’ Igor Korotchenko, editor of the Moscow-based journal National Defence, told The Times.

‘The conditions are very tough, especially in winter, so these new bases will allow Russian troops to be located there all year, and to control the airspace for hundreds of kilometres around.’

Already, some 150 Russian troops are reported to be seeing in the New Year in the Arctic Trefoil base, which is on the Russian island of Alexandra Land in the heart of the Arctic Circle.



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