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13.04.2021 (16:57)

Russian Defence Minister General of the Army Sergei Shoigu holds working meeting in Severomorsk during his trip to the Northern Fleet

The Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation, General of the Army Sergei Shoigu, during a working meeting in Severomorsk, said that the Northern Fleet is able to effectively counter the existing challenges and threats to Russia in the Arctic.

"To strengthen the defence capability of the Russian Federation and protect its national interests in the Arctic, the Ministry of Defence is systematically working to increase the combat capabilities of the Northern Fleet. It is equipped with modern military equipment adapted to use in harsh climatic conditions. Combat training is being actively conducted, various research activities are being carried out, " the head of the military department said.

The Minister of Defence recalled that last week the integrated Arctic expedition Umka-2021 was completed.

"The importance of the expedition cannot be overestimated. For the first time in the history of the Soviet and Russian submarine fleets, three nuclear submarines surfaced from under the ice at the same time," Sergei Shoigu said.

According to him, considerable attention is paid to improve the Arctic infrastructure.

"Thanks to the measures taken, the Northern Fleet is able to effectively counter the existing challenges and threats to Russia in the Arctic," the head of the military department said.

The Defence Minister also added that the overall situation in the region remains difficult. Competition for access to the resources of the Arctic Ocean and transport communications is increasing among the leading countries of the world.

According to Sergei Shoigu, the United States and its NATO allies are building up naval and land forces in the Arctic, increasing the intensity of combat training, expanding and modernizing military infrastructure.

"I note that this activity is typical not only for the Arctic region. Over the past three years, the North Atlantic bloc has increased its military activity near the Russian borders, " the head of the Russian military department said. "In Poland and the Baltic States, the US forces are being strengthened, the American concept of "four by thirty" has been adopted and implemented, compared to last year, the intensity of air reconnaissance has been doubled and the intensity of sea reconnaissance has been increased by one and a half times."

Sergei Shoigu added that every year in Europe, the Alliance conducts up to 40 major operational training events with a clear anti-Russian orientation. In the spring of this year, the joint armed forces of NATO began the largest exercise in the last 30 years, Defender Europe – 2021.

"Now American troops are being transferred from the continental part of North America across the Atlantic to Europe. There is a movement of troops in Europe to the Russian borders. The main forces are concentrated in the Black Sea region and the Baltic region — " the Russian Defence Minister stated. "In total, 40 thousand military personnel and 15 thousand units of weapons and military equipment, including strategic aviation, will be concentrated near our territory."

"In response to the Alliance's military activities threatening Russia, we have taken appropriate measures," the head of the military department said.

Sergei Shoigu said that as part of the control classes for the winter training period, a sudden check of the combat readiness of the troops of the Western and Southern military districts was carried out.

Within three weeks, two armies and three formations of the airborne troops were successfully transferred to the western borders of the Russian Federation in the areas of performing combat training tasks.

"The troops have shown full readiness and ability to perform tasks to ensure the military security of the country," the Defence Minister said.

Currently, these units and formations are involved in the exercises.

"I note that all the check up measures are planned to be completed within two weeks," the head of the military department concluded.

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