China planning for Arctic operations

A research report published in the Chinese Journal of Ship Research suggests that China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is considering future submarine operations in the Arctic. The study, which was undertaken at Harbin Engineering University, considers techniques to model stresses on a submarine’s structure when surfacing through ice. Continue reading

Russia argues the Marine Corps’ beefed-up presence in Norway is an attack

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A Marine with Marine Rotational Force-Europe 18.1 sends live rounds down range while conducting a squad attack during winter warfare training at Haltdalen Training Center, Norway, April 18, 2018. (Gunnery Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook/Marine Corps)

 

Last week, the Russian Embassy in Norway warned of consequences and on Friday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claimed the Corps’ presence in the Arctic country may, in fact, be an attack.

Norway recently agreed to boost the number of Marines in the country from 330 to 700 and opened a second training area closer to the Russian border in the Troms region.

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Cold War: U.S., Russia, China in Polar Race

 

Experts Believe As Much As $35 Trillion In Untapped Oil And Natural Gas Lurks In The Arctic Circle.

In what is being described as the “New Cold War,” the U.S., Russia, and China are all angling for the greatest share of influence and control in a part of the world few can even access. Continue reading

China Infrastructure Push Reaches Arctic, Leaving Out U.S.

 

  • Xi adds Arctic, Latin America to Belt and Road Initiative
  • Latest expansion leaves out only Canada, Japan and U.S.

With the addition of the Arctic and Latin America last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative has become truly global. Only the U.S., its neighbor Canada and ally Japan have yet to be included in the plan, which seeks to build or upgrade a network of highways, railways, ports and pipelines. Continue reading

The Arctic Silk Road: A Huge Leap Forward for China and Russia

The Arctic Silk Road: A Huge Leap Forward for China and Russia

 

The Silk Road, renamed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is developing infrastructure along land and sea trade routes. However, little is known about China’s initiative in the Arctic Circle, which represents a new route that Beijing is now able to develop thanks to technology together with the strategic partnership with Russia.

Involving about 65 countries and affecting 4.4 billion people, constituting thirty percent of the world’s GDP, together with a total investment from Beijing that could surpass a trillion dollars, the is an immense project that requires a lot of imagination to grasp the intentions of the Chinese leadership. With a host of projects already in progress, and some almost completed (the Sino-Pakistan Corridor known as CPEC is archetypical), the overland and maritime routes are developing side by side. Plenty of ink has been used detailing Beijing’s intentions regarding the East-West connections of the super Eurasian continent. Pipelines, railway lines, fiber-optic cables, telecommunications infrastructure and highways dominate discussions, together with talks about costs, feasibility studies, the question of security, and the return on investment. The land Silk Road is certainly an imposing challenge that is not just commercial in nature but sets the foundation for greater cultural and social integration between neighbouring countries. It is a project that in the long term aims to blend together the Eurasian continent and overcome the contradictions contained therein through win-win cooperation and economic development. Continue reading

Russia plays massive nuclear war games across the Arctic

Ballistic missile launch from Plesetsk in Arkhangelsk region. Photo: Russian Ministry of Defense

 

Submarines, bombers and and a mobile launcher. Four ballistic missiles, two in each direction, crossed the Arctic hemisphere Thursday evening.

A salvo of two missiles was launched from a Pacific Fleet submarine in the Sea of Okhotsk towards the Chizha test range on the Kanin Peninsula in Arkhangelsk. A Northern Fleet submarine launched another ballistic missile from the Barents Sea that hit the target at the Kura test range on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Far East. Continue reading

Russia’s Northern Sea Route is completely ice-free and shipping thrives

Photo: Sovcomflot

 

Large numbers of ships exploit new route between Europe and Asia

Data from Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute shows that the country’s entire Northern Sea Route now is ice-free, according to a report in the Independent Barents Observer. Continue reading

Struggle over the Arctic

BERLIN (Own report) – According to a German military officer, China’s economic activities in Greenland and Iceland could cause future wars. If the People’s Republic should “establish” itself in the Arctic – as a “great power alien to the region” – this would “instigate military conflicts,” according to a recent semi-official publication. To prove his point, the author, a reserve officer of the Bundeswehr, refers to China’s mining investments in Greenland and Beijing’s alleged plans to settle systematically Chinese specialists in the region. The “ethnic form of influence” expressed in this plan and the People’s Republic’s commitment to protect the “sovereign rights of the indigenous population” constitute a “declaration of war on the West,” the author writes. With regard to Iceland, the officer particularly criticizes the construction of a harbor in the Northeast of the island state, which is allegedly financed by a Chinese company. If the People’s Republic is thus creating a “regional central hub” for raw materials extracted from the Arctic, it would be in “favorable geopolitical starting blocks” vis-à-vis the “European Atlantic states,” the author explains, speaking already of a “gradual Chinese land grab” at the polar circle.

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Russia to build controversial artificial islands in arctic for gas industry

A Qatari-flagged LNG tanker crosses through the Suez Canal. Photo: Reuters

 

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signs agreement on construction, though analysts puzzled as the location is far from natural gas field

Russia plans to build four artificial islands in the arctic Barents Sea to serve the natural gas industry, though analysts are puzzled by the location as it’s far from a gas field, while environmentalists warn of pollution dangers.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed an agreement on June 17 to build the islands in Kola Bay of the Barents Sea at an estimated cost of $420 million. They are expected to come into use from 2020. Continue reading

U.S. Coast Guard Chief Warns of Russian ‘Checkmate’ in Arctic

One thing you can fault the article for is that it assumes Russia is going to let the United States, or any rival for that matter, into the area it now has on lockdown. The United States plays fair for the most part, Russia doesn’t. Playing by the rules puts you into the lesser of equals category. This is why Russia breaks treaties without conscience. This is strategy America has failed to understand in regards to its enemies such as Russia, China, Iran et al, over and over again.

If America were to start constructing new ice breakers to even reach the areas where Russia has, you’re looking at a five-to-ten year planning, not including deployment.

Having said this, one thing the article hit the nail on the head: Checkmate.

It’s too late for America. If it wants the Arctic bad enough, it now has to go to war.

 

Photo credit: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

 

The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard issued a stark warning on Wednesday that Russia was leagues ahead of Washington in the Arctic. And while the warming Arctic opens up, the United States could be caught flat-footed while other geopolitical rivals swiftly step in.

Paul Zukunft, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, warned Russia was building up a huge military and industrial presence in the region while the United States dawdled. Russia is showing “I’m here first, and everyone else, you’re going to be playing catch-up for a generation to catch up to me first,” said Zukunft in remarks before the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “They’ve made a strategic statement,” he said. Continue reading

Russia’s Military Buildup in Arctic Has U.S. Watching Closely

Soldiers of the Arctic motorized rifle brigade of Russia’s Northern Fleet took a stand near APCs during military exercise in Alakyrtti, Murmansk region, Russia, April 25, 2017. Dmitry Kozlov / AP

 

ALAKURTTI BASE, RUSSIAN ARCTIC — An RPG shell whistles towards its target, exploding in a ball of fire just as a group of soldiers in white fatigues, zip past on skis, bullets flying from their white rifles.

It was all part of a training exercise by Russia’s newly formed 80th Motor Rifle Arctic Brigade, which was established two years ago as part of the Kremlin’s bid for dominance in the Arctic. The soldiers are trained to operate in some of the least hospitable climates in the world — where temperatures can drop to -40 — using tanks, military hardware and even reindeer sleds to get around in the frozen terrain. Continue reading

Russia unveils arctic base capable of housing nuke bombers

Russia unveils arctic base capable of housing nuke bombers

Wide view of Russia’s secret arctic base with two guard dogs, Source: Russian MoD

 

On Tuesday Russia unveiled parts of its top-secret arctic base capable of housing nuclear bombers and advanced anti-ICBM systems

(WASHINGTON, DC) The Russian Defense Ministry has provided a glimpse into its state of the art Arctic air defense base, offering an interactive tour of the facility known as the Arctic Shamrock – the northernmost permanent installation of the Russian armed forces.

“With the help of the web application, Defense Ministry website http://mil.ru/files/files/arctic/Arctic.html visitors will be able to interactively assess the convenient and ergonomic modular layout of the base, which allows the Russian military to perform service and combat tasks in the hardest natural and climatic conditions of the Arctic,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Russian officials say they may equip the base with MiG-31 fighters, military jets designed to shoot down long-range bombers, or the SU-34, a frontline bomber capable of deploying nuclear weapons.  Continue reading

Fracking Comes to the Arctic in a New Alaska Oil Boom

Alaska’s North Slope region, including the National Petroleum Reserve (NPRA), Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and Trans-Alaska Pipeline (TAPS). US Geological Survey/Wikipedia

 

Arctic lands and waters hold irresistible allure for global oil companies. Despite opposition from environmental groups and President Obama’s 2016 ban on drilling in federal Arctic waters, exploration in Alaska has revealed massive new volumes of oil. The Conversation

This comes at a time of low oil prices, when many observers felt the Arctic would remain off limits. Alaska has proved precisely the opposite. Although it has gone largely unnoticed outside the industry, foreign firms are partnering with American companies to pursue these new possibilities. I expect this new wave of Arctic development will help increase US oil production and influence in world oil markets for at least the next several decades. Continue reading

Russia to modernize weaponry for Crimea, Arctic forces

 

The Kremlin plans to modernize weaponry and equipment issued to Russian forces in Crimea and the Arctic regions.

Russian defense officials disclosed the move during a Defense Ministry Board meeting in Moscow on Wednesday. Discussions focused on an armament program set to take place from 2018 through 2025. Continue reading

Russia Warns Norway over Missile Defense Plans

 

Russia has warned Norway over consequences of joining NATO ballistic missile defense (BMD) plans. According to Russian ambassador to Oslo, Moscow will retaliate. Norway’s possible accession to NATO’s missile shield «will be a new factor that will be considered in our strategic planning as the emergence of an additional problem in the Arctic region», Teimuraz Ramishvili told the Norwegian state media network NRK. Continue reading