Russia will build a string of naval bases along its northern coast as it prepares to claim a vast swath of the energy-rich Arctic.
Security Council chief Nikolay Patrushev said on Monday that a list of naval infrastructure hubs along the Northern Sea Route has been drawn up to serve as resupply bases for Russian warships and border guard vessels.
Mr. Patrushev told a government meeting in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia that a set of tax cuts proposals designed to boost business activities in Russia’s Arctic zone had been handed over to the government and laws regulating commercial navigation along the Northern Sea Route had been amended. He complained though of delays in implementing the plan.
By 2020, Russia is to deploy a combined-arms force of naval, border and coastal guard units to protect its economic and political interests in the Arctic.
President Vladimir Putin last month said that Russia would build dozens of warships by 2020 to better protect its natural resources in the Arctic.
Russia, which is entitled to a 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone in the Arctic, plans to submit next year its claim for a 150-mile additional territory on the grounds that the seabed is continuation of its continental shelf. This claim is disputed by other Arctic powers — Norway, the United States, Canada and Denmark.
Russia also plans to open year-round navigation along the Northern Sea Route, which stretches for 5,600 km along Russia’s Arctic coast from Murmansk in the Barents Sea to the Bering Strait in the Far East.