Originally titled: Russian media: escalation of NATOs antagonism with Russia in the Arctic
Reference News Network reported on April 15 that an article entitled Polar Infrastructure: What Threats NATOs Active Activity in the Arctic poses to Russia was published on April 13 on the website of Russias News News newspaper. The original text is compiled as follows:
The Arctic region is increasingly seen as a potential war zone by the Russian and NATO military. Both sides are improving their military activities in the region, improving infrastructure and expanding their military presence. The simulations were held frequently in NATO conflict exercises. This paper assesses the consequences of possible confrontations.
In terms of the difficulty of sustaining human life activities, the Arctic at high latitudes is comparable to an extraterrestrial planet. In order to maintain the survival of the people deployed in the area, almost all the necessities of life (except water and air) must be transported there. If a man has no protective equipment, he will surely die in the Arctic - only a few minutes in winter and hours in summer. To create the most basic (let alone comfortable) living conditions, expensive specialized buildings and other facilities are needed.
The Earths climate is less livable than that of the Arctic and probably only Antarctica. Its extraterrestrial characteristics are more obvious, but fortunately, the Antarctic Circle is still a neutral region.
The geographical characteristics of the Arctic also determine the characteristics of military confrontation there. Military combat effectiveness usually relies heavily on infrastructure, but in the Arctic, this dependence will approach its extreme. In the absence of fixed facilities, only aircraft, special vessels and submarines, as well as mobile combat units with special equipment and a very small number of personnel, can operate in the Arctic.
In this case, infrastructure is decisive. Russia has gradually resumed its military presence in the region, rebuilding and expanding existing facilities and building a series of new facilities from the Joseph Islands in France to Chukchi. The base network under construction, including the airport, will ensure that Russia has the ability to control the entire northern route, a key transportation route in the region. You know, the Arctic climate warming makes northern routes increasingly attractive as transit transport routes between Europe and Asia. The prospects for the development of local mineral and marine biological resources are also considerable.
At present, it can be pointed out that Russia has a clear advantage in the Arctic with a broader base network, a large icebreaker fleet and a garrison cluster endowed with the status of an independent joint strategic command. But NATOs active performance in the region still poses a serious threat.
Active response to conflict
NATO conducts regular exercises in harsh polar conditions, including in ice-covered areas for many years. Every two years, ice sheet exercises have always involved British and American nuclear submarines. For example, in the 2018 exercise, the U.S. Navy dispatched two submarines, SSN-768 Hartford (an improved Los Angeles class) and SSN-22 Connecticut (a sea wolf class), as well as the U.K. S-91 Sharp (Trafalgar class) submarines. Submarine drills include finding suitable locations to emerge from the ice, navigating at high latitudes and underwater, avoiding icebergs, using radio communications in polar conditions, searching for submarines and underwater torpedo shooting. Temporary camps have been set up on the ice surface for the maintenance of submarines and submarine-borne weapons.
These exercises have aroused strong concern in Russia, because the ice-covered Arctic waters have been used as the stationing area for strategic missile submarines of the northern fleet. It is extremely difficult to find submarines under the ice, and any progress in this area will dramatically change the balance of power in the future.
Large-scale military exercises in the southern part of the Arctic have also caused Russias unease, such as the Trident Contact 2018 exercise in Norway and its surrounding waters, the largest NATO exercise since 1991. In addition, the activities of the U.S. Air Force, which recently began sending B-52 bombers regularly to Russian airspace, are particularly worrying considering their ability to use quick attack-range controllable mines to block naval bases.
Russian armed forces also conduct military exercises in the Arctic from time to time. However, in the context of extremely deteriorating political relations, this kind of military action between you and me will only lead to an increase in the possibility of military conflict, rather than an increase in defensive capabilities.
At the same time, it should be pointed out that at present, the expansion of military power in the Arctic is not restricted by any agreement, but only by economic capacity. However, there is no point in directly comparing the size of the economies of Russia and NATO countries to assess the direction of the race. Economic strength can only indirectly reflect the capacity of both sides to develop regional infrastructure. This ability depends to a greater extent on factors such as existing bases, geography, climate and even social and cultural characteristics.
Only hope is that Russia and NATO will not compare their strength in the Arctic in direct military contests.