Arctic Council - Is it important? - Militarily, Economically and Environmentally


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
U.S. Pressure Blocks Declaration on Climate Change at Arctic Talks

Members of the Arctic Council in Rovaniemi, Finland, on Tuesday.CreditVesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva, via Reuters

ROVANIEMI, Finland — Under pressure from the United States, the Arctic Council issued a short joint statement on Tuesday that excluded any mention of climate change.
It was the first time since its formation in 1996 that the council had been unable to issue a joint declaration spelling out its priorities. As an international organization made up of eight Arctic countries and representatives of indigenous groups in the region, its stated mission is cooperation on Arctic issues, particularly the protection of the region’s fragile environment.
According to diplomats involved in the negotiations, at issue was the United States’ insistence not to mention the latest science on climate change or the Paris Agreement aimed at averting its worst effects. The omission is especially notable because scientists have warned that the Arctic is heating up far faster than the world average because of rising greenhouse gas emissions.
Foreign Minister Timo Soini of Finland, the council’s outgoing chairman, made it clear, without naming names, that resistance to climate action was a minority opinion.

Arctic Council
Wikipedia said:
The Arctic Council is a high-level intergovernmental forum that addresses issues faced by the Arctic governments and the indigenous people of the Arctic. Eight member countries constitute the council: Canada, Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States as these are the eight countries with sovereignty over the lands within the Arctic Circle. Outside these, there are some observer states.

This recent development prompted me to post some past events that center around the arctic regions and also the occasional mention of Antarctica.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that Russia is behaving aggressively in the Arctic and China's actions there had to be watched closely as well, amid growing divisions in the polar region over global warming and access to minerals.

If the next ice age does not prevent the exploitation of the Arctic region it seems many countries may have their sights on developing these regions.

The "Arctic" caught my attention when Rex Tillerson was still Secretary of State. He was very knowledgeable about the oil and the Arctic regions.

Wikipedia said:
Tillerson began his career as a civil engineer with Exxon in 1975 after graduating with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. By 1989 he had become general manager of the Exxon USA central production division. In 1995 he became president of Exxon Yemen Inc. and Esso Exploration and Production Khorat Inc. In 2006 Tillerson was elected chair and chief executive of Exxon, the world's sixth largest company by revenue.[4][5] Tillerson retired from Exxon effective January 1, 2017.[6] He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.[4

Tillerson soon rose to management positions and in 1995 became head of Exxon's operations in Thailand and Yemen. In 1998 he became vice-president of Exxon Ventures in the Commonwealth of Independent Countries, and president of Exxon Neftegas Limited, taking responsibility for the company's holdings in Russia and the Caspian Sea. Tillerson has worked closely with Russian companies such as Rosneft, which in 2011 agreed with Exxon on a joint oil exploration and development project in the Arctic and Siberia.

Thanks to successful business co-operation, the businessman was awarded Russia's "Order of Friendship" by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2013, who has himself met Tillerson several times.

I think the petrodollar is still a major issue and one of the main reasons the U.S. is determined not to loose access/ownership of the oil no matter which country really owns it.

Chronologically many forum threads have picked up on the Arctic activity (especially in the Russia threads) but unless you go back and piece it together it is difficult to see a pattern. Hopefully the following dated posts will give some food for thought.


Dec 21, 2015
In the near future, radar will be used to create an effectively unbroken shield over Russia. The rapid commissioning of eight modern stations is now scheduled, some of which will replace old Soviet designs, while others are completely new. These will completely cover the expanse over Siberia and over the Arctic region, as well as covering part of the sky over North America.


January 29, 2016
Shoigu: the construction of infrastructure for the military in the Arctic is completed

On the islands of boiler and Land Aleksand unique administrative and residential complexes are designed for year-round duty military units, stressed Defense Minister, Army General Sergei Shoigu.

MOSCOW, January 29 - RIA Novosti. As part of the Arctic infrastructure, ensuring the vital activity of groups of troops, on the Arctic islands completes the construction of a unique administrative and residential complexes, said on Friday, Russian Defence Minister, Army General Sergei Shoigu.

"The establishment of formations and military units of the Northern Fleet in the Arctic and the creation of supporting infrastructure is carried out in the framework of the program Russian presidential decree of 2012 and its instructions following meetings in Sochi, as well as in the implementation of the approved by the President of the Russian Federation in 2014, the new military doctrine, in which the armed forces the task of ensuring national interests (countries) in the Arctic zone, "- said the Minister of Defence.

According to him, to this end, active construction of military facilities in the archipelago of Franz Josef Land, Novaya Zemlya, Severnaya Zemlya and New Siberian Islands. "The necessary conditions for the life of the military. Since the islands of boiler and Land Aleksand completed the construction of a unique administrative and residential complexes, designed for year-round duty military units," - said Shoigu.

He added that he also formed an extensive infrastructure logistics. This importance given to environmental safety, waste disposal and carrying out cleaning of the Arctic.

February 10, 2016
Russia, Denmark, Canada Geologists Discussing Russian Arctic Bid

Geologists from Russia, Denmark and Canada hold regular consultations on the scientific basis of Russia’s bid to expand its Arctic continental shelf, Russian Natural Resources and Environment Minister Sergei Donskoy said.

Russia has been seeking the recognition of an expanded resource-rich outer limit of the continental shelf (OLCS) since 2001, but has been turned down due to lack of geological evidence that the territory is a natural continuation of Russia's shelf.

"Such consultations are conducted on a regular basis in a bilateral form and in the form of traditional conferences geological agencies of the Arctic states and within the framework of the Arctic Council," Donskoy told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.

The minister is expected to submit a revised application to the United Nations later in the day. According to Donskoy, it could take the special UN commission up to five years to consider Russia's revised bid.

Russia is one of the five Arctic nations – alongside the United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark – that have been laying claims to hydrocarbon deposits located in its offshore Arctic border areas.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, the total value of energy resources concentrated in Russia's Arctic region exceeds $30 trillion. Ministry experts predict that in the future, Russian oil and gas production will be mainly concentrated on the Arctic sea shelves.

Russia's Bid for Arctic Shelf Border Expansion in Facts and Details

The 40th session of the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) is taking place from February 1 to March 18. Russian Natural Resources and Environment Minister Sergei Donskoi is due to present the country's claim to extend its rights in the Arctic continental shelf in New York later in the day.

In early August 2015, Russia submitted a partially revised application to the United Nations seeking to enlarge its continental shelf limits in the Arctic Ocean. The application included Russia’s scientifically substantiated claim for expanding the shelf area in the Murmansk-North Pole-Chukotka triangle.

The continental shelf is a shallow extension of the continent’s landmass under the ocean, restricted outwardly by the ocean floor bend, with the depth increasing sharply along the continental slope to the ocean floor.

Under Article 76 of UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982, the continental shelf of a coastal state comprises the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas extending beyond its territorial sea "throughout the natural prolongation of its land territory" to the outer edge of the continental margin, including the continental slope. A coastal state can always claim its rights to the shelf within the distance of 200 nautical miles from the coastline. In certain conditions, the outer limit of the continental shelf cannot extend further than 350 nautical miles. This restriction, however, does not apply to submarine elevations if they are acknowledged as "natural components" of the continental margin.

On December 20, 2001, Russia sent an application to the CLCS to expand its Arctic shelf beyond the 200-mile area, which means the right to include the underwater space near the northern coast (contiguous to the Arctic Ocean) and the eastern coast (contiguous to the Pacific Ocean) in its continental shelf.

The grounds for this were a statement that the underwater Lomonosov Ridge stretching from the New Siberian Islands through the North Pole in the direction of Canada and Greenland, as well as the Mendeleev Ridge situated further east, are a continuation of the Eurasian continent and, consequently, do not fall under the 350-mile limit.

In June 2002, the application was examined and declined due to the lack of details on the bottom relief maps and justification of the continental nature of the above-mentioned ridges and their connection with the Siberian shelf.

Russia’s current, partially revised application is corroborated by the results of a 10-year complex geological and geophysical research conducted in the Arctic water area, including full-scale expeditions engaging ice-breakers and special research vessels.

The application was elaborated by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, which in 2010 engaged the Russian Academy of Sciences to provide the scientific substantiation of the application. The Academy of Sciences formed a creative team led by Vice President Nikolai Laverov, consisting of the best-known geoscientists and geophysicists involved in researching Arctic issues and employed by the academy’s leading relevant institutes.

The Arktika-2007 polar expedition was organized in May-September 2007 to examine the Arctic Ocean shelf. The expedition reached the North Pole on August 1.

The Mir-1 and Mir-2 manned submersibles reached the ocean floor in the North Pole area and conducted several oceanographic, hydro-meteorological and ice investigations on August 2. A unique experiment involving collecting soil and plant samples at a depth of almost 14,000 feet was implemented for the first time in history. In addition, a Russian flag was installed in the Arctic Ocean bed near the North Pole. The results of the Arctic expedition formed the basis of Russia’s position in establishing the ownership of this section of the Arctic shelf.

As the Akademik Fyodorov research vessel returned from the Arctic in October 2014, the termination was announced of all planned activities for an application to the UN concerning the expansion of Russia’s Arctic shelf.

Data obtained by the Akademik Fyodorov expedition demonstrated the structure and composition of the basic sea bottom components and made it possible to produce the world’s first physical model of the Arctic’s geological evolution.

The bottom segment, which the updated application concerns, includes the shelf of the Arctic seas along Russia’s borders and the polar segment of the ocean basin in the region of the Central Arctic underwater elevations – the Lomonosov Ridge, Hollow of Submariners, Mendeleev Ridge, Chukchi Hollow and Chukchi Rise. The application proceeds from the point that the region’s underwater elevations naturally belong to the continent’s outlying parts, making a block of the continental, not oceanic, Earth crust that moved occasionally but never tore away from Eurasia.

The updated application also refers to unsettled Russian-Danish and Russian-Canadian issues of the delimitation of maritime territories. Denmark’s application dated December 2014 for the shelf north of Greenland concerns a major part of the territory Russia applies for – particularly, the polar territory and part of the Lomonosov Ridge. The Canadian application, now under consideration, might also involve the territory that Russia is applying for – namely, the Mendeleev Ridge.

Considering the superimposition of their applications, the Arctic states’ foreign ministers met in Ilulissat, Greenland, in 2008, to adopt a declaration pledging to settle these and similar issues in the spirit of goodwill and compromise based on bilateral talks.

Russia substantiates claims to extend hydrocarbon-rich Arctic shelf (Video)

Currently, Russia claims to areas outside the established 200-mile economic zone. The zone covers the geomorphological shelf of the Russian Arctic marginal seas, a part of the Eurasian Basin (Nansen and Amundsen basins, the Gakkel Ridge) and the central part of the Amerasian basin as part of the Makarov basin and the Complex of Central Arctic submarine elevations.

According to Russian researchers, the constituent parts of the Complex of Central Arctic submarine elevations are of the continental nature and shall be categorized as natural components of the continental margin.

March 30 2016
The "Globus" radar type is able to track the launches of Russian Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and monitor the activity of the Northern fleet of the Russian Navy in the Arctic region, operating a US missile defense system. However, the Norwegian authorities deny that they know about such espionage activities of the US military on its territory.

October 25, 2016
Russian forces assume combat duty in all Arctic garrisons — ministry

The Russian deputy defense minister says the creation of military infrastructure in the Arctic is a unique project

Infrastructure preparedness on Arctic islands has allowed Russian army units to assume combat duty, Deputy Defense Minister Dmitry Bulgakov said on Tuesday.

"The infrastructure preparedness on all the Arctic islands has already allowed units there to assume combat duty," the deputy defense minister said, adding that work for the accommodation of troops in the Arctic would be continued.

The creation of permanently operating military aerodromes in the Arctic, including Tiksi, Anadyr, Vorkuta, Temp on Kotelny Island are at the stage of designing and preparatory work, he said.

The construction of the Nagurskoye aerodrome on the Alexandra Land Island, part of the Franz Josef Land archipelago, is in full swing. The airfield will be put into operation in 2017 and will be fully equipped in 2018, he added.

Also, "measures are planned to build a new a new berth for loading and unloading supplies and hardware in the settlement of Severny on Novaya Zemlya," he said.

The creation of military infrastructure in the Arctic is a unique project "by the organization of logistics, the delivery of supplies and cargoes, and also construction and assembly works," the Russian deputy defense minister said.

"For the first time in the history of modern Russia, works on such a scale are being carried out in the conditions of the Extreme North," he said.

November 22, 2016
First flight of Russia’s Arctic-designated helicopter

TASS publishes video footage of the first flight of Russia’s Arctic-designated helicopter

TASS publishes video footage of the first flight of Russia’s Arctic-designated helicopter. According to tests, Arctic version of Russia’s Mil Mi-8AMTSh helicopter is fit for landing in whiteout conditions and on ice, able to work under severe conditions in the High North, where ambient temperature is below -50°C.

November 22, 2016
China interested in purchasing Russia’s Arctic-designated helicopters

A year ago, the Russian Aerospace Force received the first helicopter of this class and several more such machines

China shows interest in the Arctic version of Russia’s Mil Mi-8AMTSh helicopter, Managing Director of the Ulan-Ude Aviation Enterprise (part of Russian Helicopters Group) Leonid Belykh said on Tuesday.

"China and a number of other countries are showing interest in it," he said.

The Ulan-Ude Aviation Enterprise managing director said he did not rule out that orders for the helicopter might come from all the Arctic countries, and also from Argentina.

Pre-contractual work for the deliveries of Mi-8AMTSh helicopters is also ongoing with Russian geological prospecting, oil and gas companies, he said.

A year ago, the Russian Aerospace Force received the first helicopter of this class, he said.

"The first such helicopter is now operating in the Arctic conditions. I wouldn’t want to boast but we do not see any problems and there are no critical remarks so far," Belykh said.


April 23, 2017
A report surfaced of two Russian military planes "bombers" being intercepted by U.S. planes near Alaska. After 12 minutes, the Russian planes turned around.

US Sends Two F-22 Jets in Response to Russian Tu-95 Bombers Near Alaska

18.04.2017 - The US Air Force flew two F-22 stealth fighter planes and an E-3 early warning jet near the state of Alaska after two Russian strategic bombers were seen about 100 miles from Kodiak Island, Fox News said on Tuesday.

The Russian nuclear-capable bombers reportedly turned around after the US planes flew nearby for 12 minutes.

Russia Defense confirmed the report.

Russian Defense Ministry Confirms US Interception of Russian Bombers Near Alaska

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that two Russian Tu-95MS bombers were escorted by US fighters near Alaska.

The ministry pointed out that Russian jets regularly carry out patrol flights over the neutral waters of the Arctic region, Atlantic Ocean, Black Sea and Pacific Ocean.

“All flights of the Aerospace Force were carried out and are carried out in strict accordance with the international rules of using the air space over the neutral waters without violation of borders of other states,” the statement added. The US military also confirmed the incident.

July 22, 2017
“The Russian Federation continues to retain its status as a great naval state, whose naval potential ensures the defensive of its national interests in any part of the World Ocean,” the 22-page document says.

According to the report, among the direct naval threats to Russia is “the striving of a series of governments, above all the United States of America and its allies, to dominate the oceans, including in the Arctic and also to reach an intimidating supremacy with its naval forces.”

The strategy, which will remain binding until 2030, comes in addition to earlier announcements by Russian navy authorities who have designated the Arctic “a priority development area for Moscow.”

The document says that the resource-rich Arctic region is the subject of claims by Russia and four other nations that are all US allies.

August 24, 2017
Apparently this new plane is not also really fast, but also capable of operating in space if it all goes according to plan. Frankly if they succeed, the upcoming MIG41 will make the American F22 and F35 look like a party balloon.

New Russian MiG interceptor will be able to operate in space – developer’s CEO
New Russian MiG interceptor will be able to operate in space – developer’s CEO

The cutting-edge interceptor aircraft, which has been under development for several years, will be able to reach space and even potentially operate without a pilot, according to the CEO of the MiG corporation working on the project.

The research and development of the PAK DP (perspective aviation complex of long-range interceptor) was launched by the MiG Corporation in 2013. PAK DP, dubbed by media with the unofficial designation MiG-41, is expected to replace the aging long-range interceptor MiG-31 and its variants.

The new fighter will be a spiritual successor of MiG-31, MiG Corporation CEO Ilya Tarasenko stated, shedding some light on the interceptor under development.

“[The development] is at the stage of finalizing the image of the plane. It will be a gradual transition from MiG-31 to PAK DA,” Tarasenko told RT at the Army-2017 expo in Kubinka on Wednesday.

The “Army-2017” forum is held in the “Patriot” Congress and Exhibition Center, Alabino Military Training Grounds and Kubinka Airfield in Moscow Region. The forum features cutting-edge novelties of the defense industrial complex and is a platform for holding negotiations and striking deals. Aside from the experts, the event also attracts the general public to marvel at the deadly military hardware on the ground and in the air.

The plane, however, will not be just a modernization of MiG-31, it will be an entirely new machine, having “the ability to operate in space, new weapons, new speeds, new operational range,” Tarasenko told Zvezda TV channel on Tuesday.

“It will be an entirely new plane, where entirely new technologies to operate in the Arctic zone will be utilized. This plane will safeguard the whole border of our homeland. Later, the project will become unmanned,” TASS quoted Tarasenko as saying.

While the plane is still under development, it might go to into production by the mid-2020s, Tarasenko believes.

October 9, 2017
In the energy sector, the situation is somewhat different: the governments in Moscow and Riyadh are among the driving forces behind limiting the oil production, with which several Opec and non-Opec countries jointly want to stabilize prices on world markets. King Salman said his country's cooperation with Russia in this area would continue. Saudi Arabian energy minister Chalid Al-Falid told Al-Arabiya that the kingdom wanted to keep the option to extend this agreement beyond March. Putin, on the other hand, said on Wednesday that the countries involved were ready to extend the agreement.

Which concrete agreements really get concluded at the end remains unclear. The FT reported on a joint investment fund over a billion dollars. The FAZ writes of the possibility that the Saudis could import Russian liquefied gas (LNG). Reuters, however, reports that balloon, which somebody had let rise in the course of the talks, had already burst: Saudi Aramco said that they would not invest in Russia's Arctic LNG project.

October 26, 2017
NATO seeking to add 2 new commands for fear of ‘potential conflict’ with Russia – report

NATO defense ministers will review the new command structures at their quarterly meeting in November, allied officials told the newspaper.

The recommendations reportedly include a new NATO logistics command that would focus on moving people and material more rapidly, and a command for the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans meant to focus on protecting sea lanes, critical for securing Europe from submarine threats.

November 28, 2017
The Russian Defense Ministry has noted a major uptick in US and NATO flights near Russian territory in recent months. In mid-November, the Ministry reported that jets were scrambled three times in one week to chase away foreign recon planes. In the seven day period, twelve spy planes were caught approaching Russian airspace, including six on the western borders, three in the Russian Arctic, one on the southwestern flank and two from the east. A week before that, 17 foreign aircraft were reported to be patrolling the border, with Russian planes scrambled twice to intercept.


May 12, 2018
May 12, 2018 - Two US F-22 jets escort Russia’s Tu-95 aircraft - Russian Defense Ministry
Two US F-22 jets escort Russia’s Tu-95 aircraft - Russian Defense Ministry

Russia’s Tupolev Tu-95 aircraft were escorted by two F-22 jets of the US Air Force at some section of the route, which did not approach them closer than 100 meters, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Saturday.

He noted that "the Tu-95MS strategic bombers operated by the [Russian] Aerospace Forces and the Tu-142 long-range anti-submarine aircraft operated by the Navy successfully performed a planned flight over the neutral waters of the Arctic Ocean, the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk on May 11." "At some section of the route the aircraft operated by the Russian Aerospace Forces that were carrying out a patrol flight were escorted by two F-22 jets of the US Air Force for 40 minutes, which did not approach them closer than 100 meters," he said.

October 26, 2018
Russia’s Northern fleet to get first Tor-M2DT systems in November — official

The Arctic version of the Tor-M2DT air defense missile systems will for the first time enter service with Russia’s Northern Fleet in November, Russian Air Defense Force Chief Lt. Gen. Alexander Leonov has said.

"The first battalion of Tor-M2DT Arctic air defense missile systems will enter service with air defense units in the third decade of November," Leonov said, describing the Tor-M2 family as the most efficient means of combating all types of aerial targets, including low-observable unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The Tor-M2DT is the Arctic version of the Tor-M2 (NATO reporting name:
SA-15 Gauntlet) air defense missile system. The system is designed for air and ballistic missile defense at the battalion level. It can be used to provide coverage for key administrative facilities and forward forces against the attacks of anti-radiation and cruise missiles, glide bombs, planes, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The system has 16 vertical-launched air defense missiles with a range of 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) and an altitude of up to 10,000 meters and can operate in manual and automatic modes. It monitors the airspace autonomously and downs all aerial targets that have not been identified by the friend-or-foe system.

Tor-M2DT was developed on the basis of a two-section tractor. It can operate in harsh conditions of the Arctic and the Extreme North at temperatures of down to -50°C. It has the unique DT-30 tracked chassis making it capable of passing water obstacles and cross-country areas.

October 29, 2018
Roscosmos indicated that the mobile system was created in 2015, having completed state tests. The installation and start of work must be completed by April 30, 2019. It will receive data from Resurs-P, Canopus-B and Canopus-V-IK optical observation spacecraft with infra-red cameras and then transmit them to Moscow via the Luch geostationary satellite by cryptography.

In addition, Roscosmos plans to install fixed data reception stations in the Russian region of Chukotka and the Russian Progress station in Antarctica next year.

The Resurs-P spacecraft consists of three devices and is capable of capturing images of designated regions with a resolution of 0.7 meters in visible bands and near infrared.

October 29, 2018
Russian scientists find new greenhouse gas sources in the Arctic

Russian scientists during an expedition on board the Akademik Keldysh research vessel found new sources of methane emissions in the Arctic, the Ministry of Education and Science’s press service said on Friday.

Experts say thawing of the Arctic Ocean’s underwater and coastal permafrost causes massive emissions of greenhouse gases - methane and carbon dioxide. The growing emissions may affect the planet’s climate system.

"Russian scientists have found a new big area in the East Arctic’s seas with big emissions of greenhouse gases," the press service said. "They also saw that emissions in earlier found areas had become more active."

According to specialists, the new area of methane’s massive emissions from sediments has formed recently, as only a few years earlier, during previous expeditions, that field was not found. Thus, they say, the process proves continuing anomalously quick degradation of the permafrost on the ocean floor.

Scientists received another confirmation of the continuing processes as they took pictures of the Podkova (horseshoe) seep field. Seeps are areas where methane bubbles fountain from the seafloor. The field’s diameter has multiplied since the previous studies in 2014.

The Akademik M. Keldysh research vessel returned to Arkhangelsk’s port on October 25. A team of specialists from Russia’s leading scientific institutions worked for 35 days. At the East Arctic’s seas, they made a complex of bio-geo-chemical, geo-physical and geological studies.

The expedition went offshore the East Arctic seas - the World Ocean’s widest and most shallow shelf, which keeps giant resources of oil, coal, and natural gas, mostly methane.

Russia’s experience of work in Arctic attracts many countries, says official

Many countries are interested in using Russia’s experience of work in the Arctic, including in support of the Arctic zone’s low-numbered indigenous peoples, Russia’s First Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education Grigory Trubnikov told TASS on Friday.

"Russia sees as basic the solution of social tasks for the Arctic’s low-numbered indigenous peoples," he said. "Traditionally, we apply many efforts in this sphere, and many countries say they would like to use Russia’s vast experience in this matter."

Russian Arctic programs were on agenda of the Second Arctic Science Ministerial in Berlin on October 26. The event featured officials from the Arctic Region’s countries as well as representatives of the countries, which have interests in the Arctic, including France, Germany, Japan, China and South Korea.

"The forum participants discuss Arctic research," the Russian official continued. "Everyone seems to be interested in the problem of the global climate change and warming."

"Everyone is concerned about raising temperatures,"
he continued. "Many delegates have expressed big concern about the ice thawing and about the higher ocean level."

The forum’s participants voiced three major topics for further discussions, he said. Those are the global warming and the ice thawing, future of the people living in the Arctic zone, first of all the low-numbered indigenous peoples, and international cooperation in the region.

"Russia invites the international community to cooperate in joint applied and fundamental studies in the Arctic," the deputy minister said. "We focus on development of new technologies in the region, including ecology-friendly transport, robotics, unmanned aerial vehicles, the Earth’s remote sensing - all the technologies, which allow to develop the Arctic and keep its fragile ecological balance."

"We are very concerned about the region’s ecology safety, and here the international community should share experience and unite efforts," he said in conclusion.

November 15, 2018
Northern Fleet to get first Arctic air defense systems Tor on November 22 — source

The first Artic air defense systems Tor will be delivered to the Northern Fleet next week, a source in the military-industrial complex told TASS.

"The first battalion of Arctic air defense systems Tor-M2DT will be handed over to the Northern Fleet on November 22," the source said.

Earlier, the chief of the Russian Armed Forces’ field air defense system, Lieutenant-General Alexander Leonov, said that the Tor systems were to be handed over to the Northern Fleet in a ceremony on the premises of the 726th air defense training center in Yeisk, the Krasnodar Region, in November.

Tor-M2DT is the Arctic configuration of Tor-M2, installed on the tracked articulated chassis DT-30M, boasting unique cross-country parameters and the ability to negotiate ditches and water obstacles and stay operational at air temperatures as low as 50 degrees below freezing. They hit the target within seconds after identification.

November 16, 2018
Polar prospects: Russia to research Antarctica’s mineral resource potential

Polar Marine Geosurvey Expedition, a St. Petersburg-based subsidiary of Russia’s state-owned Rosgeologiya, has started a geological and geophysical study along with an assessment of the mineral resource potential of the Antarctica and its peripheral seas as part of the 64th Russian Antarctic Expedition, Rosgeologiya said in a statement.

The project is implemented under a government contract with Russia’s I.S. Gramberg Scientific Research Institute for Geology and Mineral Resources of the World Ocean.

The study will be conducted in the Pacific zone of the Antarctica between the Amundsen and the Ross Seas, Queen Mary Land near Bunger Oasis, according to the statement.

The team is expected to carry out the geological study covering the Antarctic mainland, as well as aerovisual and onshore magnetometer observations, airborne landings, in addition to collecting samples for geochronology purposes. Moreover, expedition members will conduct a geophysical airborne survey, and also conservation and geo-ecological efforts.

The research vessel the Academician Alexander Karpinsky is set to leave the port of St. Petersburg on December 20, 2018, to perform the offshore research. The survey season is schedule for completion in April 2019, with the final report to the customer expected at the end of 2019.

Rosgeologiya is Russia’s multi-industry geological holding company, which offers a full range of geological exploration services from regional surveys to stratigraphic drilling and subsoil monitoring.

November 23, 2018
Mi-38T helicopter

As Deputy Managing Director of the Kazan Rotorcraft Factory Vadim Ligai told journalists, the helicopter can take up to 40 passengers on its board. The rotorcraft is 99% made of domestic components.

Mi-38 helicopters are equipped with TV7-117V highly efficient engines produced by the Klimov United Engine-Making Corporation. The helicopter features an integrated digital pilot navigation system with data shown on five liquid crystal displays and an explosion-proof protected fuel system. Additional landing gear struts enable the helicopter to land on soft ground and snow.

The helicopter’s cabin is furnished with easily removable seats, detachable medical equipment and roller equipment for cargo transportation.
Mi-38 helicopters can be used for transporting cargoes and passengers, carrying out search and rescue operations and making VIP transportation in various climatic conditions, including the sea, tropical and cold climate. Specialized helicopters, including the Arctic version, are planned to be produced on the basis of the Mi-38T transport rotorcraf.

November 23, 2018
Russia gives Arctic archipelago clean bill of health decades after Soviet-era nuke testing

An expedition by the Northern Fleet (NF) to Novaya Zemlya showed that wildlife and the natural surroundings there have fully recovered after nuclear tests had been conducted on the archipelago during the Soviet times, NF Commander Nikolai Yevmenov told reporters on Friday.

"I can say that the myth about Novaya Zemlya as a radioactive waste repository of the Arctic, which keeps popping up in the Western media now and then, has been completely debunked based on the results of our experts’ work. The archipelago’s natural environment has successfully overcome the aftermath of this nuclear testing," he added.

Researchers have conducted radioactivity measurements along the entire route of the expedition, and no abnormally high levels of contamination have been documented.

Yevmenov pointed out that the consequences of the archipelago’s development, namely abandoned territories, previously inhabited by people, as well as scrap metal and litter areas, cause greater damage to the islands’ environment. The Northern Fleet’s environmental protection battalion is working to clean it up. This year alone, the NF environmental protection units have collected more than 360 tonnes of scrap metal on Kotelny Island, and on the Novosibirsk Islands archipelago, and prepared it for recycling. In total, the Northern Fleet removed over 3,000 tonnes of scrap metal from the Arctic Islands over the last two years for further recycling.

Novaya Zemlya is a Russian archipelago in the Arctic, lying between the Barents and Kara Seas. A test site was deployed there during the Soviet period, where numerous nuclear detonations had been carried out.

November 29, 2018
Russia, China may cooperate in Arctic energy projects — Rosneft CEO

The Russian-Chinese cooperation in the energy sector may continue in joint development of the Arctic shelves, as well as of the Russian Far East’s deposits, CEO of Russia’s biggest oil company Rosneft Igor Sechin said on Thursday.

"New growth points in the Russian-Chinese cooperation could be joint development of the oil and gas resources on the shelves of the Arctic and the Russian Far East, as well as development of navigation along the Northern Sea Route," he said at the First Russian-Chinese Energy Business Forum in Beijing.

According to him, quite promising is the project in the Far East on a big electric-energy complex, which will use renewable energy and coal. The complex’s key direction will be export to China. "We may also expand cooperation in petrochemical and gas processing sectors," he said. "I can see the synergy in their joint implementation is high."

The first Russian-Chinese Energy Business Forum is held at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing. It features about 300 representatives from Russian and Chinese energy companies. The forum’s participants take part in a few round-table meetings devoted to coal, electric energy and oil and gas sectors.

In June, 2018, during Vladimir Putin’s visit to China, the countries’ leaders agreed to establish a Russian-Chinese energy business forum.

December 6, 2018
Russian gunmaker Kalashnikov unveils new drone for Arctic operation

The Kalashnikov small arms manufacturer has presented the ZALA Arctic unmanned aerial vehicle adapted for work in Arctic latitudes, the Kalashnikov Media reported on its website on Thursday.

The new system was presented at the 8th international forum, "The Arctic: the Present and the Future."

"ZALA Arctic drones are capable of successfully solving civilian and military tasks for carrying out research in the Arctic zone, providing for the safety of sea shipping and the round-the-clock protection of the perimeters, organizing the full-fledged system of tracking the Arctic coast and territorial waters," Kalashnikov Group CEO Vladimir Dmitriyev was quoted as saying.

The ZALA 421-08M and ZALA 421-16E systems are suited for their operation at considerable freezing temperatures, which makes it possible to carry out numerous surveillance operations and regularly monitor the ice situation. The ZALA Arctic equipment’s capabilities facilitate oil and gas extraction planning in the areas where accurate weather and ice situation forecasts are required, according to the data posted on the Kalashnikov Media’s website.

ZALA drones are equipped with the AIS system capable of detecting and identifying vessels at a distance of up to 100 km, which exceeds the operational range of ground-based equipment by several times.

The user of the ZALA Arctic system gets information about each vessel: its name, size, course and speed. The drone has its own GIRSAM alternative navigation system developed specially for the navigation of both unmanned aerial vehicles and the ground-and water-based users amid the suppression or the absence of GPS or GLONASS signals.

The operators can autonomously live in the Arctic in a specially developed all-weather living module based on a marine 200-feet container. It is also designed for rational maintenance of unmanned aerial vehicles at the place of their operation.

The forum, "The Arctic: the Present and the Future," organized by the Association of Polar Explorers, runs in St. Petersburg on December 5-7. Its participants are discussing the protection of the environment in northern regions, the development of infrastructural projects, the protection of the rights of the indigenous peoples, the youth policy in the Arctic and personnel training.

The forum has brought together about 2,000 participants from the Arctic regions of Russia and more than 20 other countries, in particular, all the Arctic Council member states. The TASS news agency acts as the forum’s general information partner.

Expert: hybrid power plants are the only effective solution for Arctic

Hybrid electric power plants, which use alternative energy sources and diesel fuel, are the only effective solution for the Russian Arctic regions, the Association of Power and Energy Equipment Producers' Vice President Oleg Yegorychev told The Arctic: Present and Future forum.

"In our opinion, the only solution, prompt and rather effective [for the Arctic territories], are hybrid systems: the Sun, wind and diesel," he said. "Unfortunately, I cannot imagine and nobody can realistically present any other quick solutions."

According to him, the Association considers it very important to have standards for equipment and technology solutions, which will be used actively at the polar and Arctic territories.

The expert stressed in a conversation with TASS the work on standards would require support from the government. "Quite a lot is to be considered, and no businesses will afford it," he explained. "The cost of work on one standard is about one million rubles ($15,000)."

The Arctic: Present and Future forum, organized by the Association of Polar Explorers, is underway in St. Petersburg from December 5 to December 7. The event features about 2,000 participants from Russian Arctic regions and from more than 20 countries, including the Arctic Council's member states.


February 17, 2019
Williamson, addressing the Munich Security Conference on Friday, accused Russia of “illegal activity” on land and at sea, and called on Moscow to reset its relationship with Western countries through dialogue.

Lavrov addressed the meeting on Saturday and seized the opportunity to jibe back at Williamson when asked about the security situation of the Arctic.

“We want to understand what kind of mandate NATO is going to have in the Arctic,” he said.

“If you listen to some people like the minister of war - oh, sorry the minister of defense - of the United Kingdom then you might get an impression that nobody except NATO have the right to be anywhere,” he added to laughter.

It was not the first time Lavrov and Williamson have clashed verbally. Last year, after Williamson told Russia to “go away and shut up”, Lavrov retorted: “Maybe he lacks education.”
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The Living Force

A lot of fancy-foot-work there, Goyacobol!!! Really nice work ... :perfect:

Foreign ministers of Arctic Council countries sign joint statement May 7, 2019


© Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

While opening the meeting, Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini said that its participants would sign a joint ministerial statement instead of a joint declaration.

The foreign ministers of the Arctic Council’s member states signed a joint statement "at the conclusion of Finland’s second chairmanship." The document has been published on the Arctic Council’s website.

The ministers reaffirmed their "commitment to maintain peace, stability and constructive cooperation in the Arctic," emphasized "the role of Arctic states in providing leadership in addressing new opportunities and challenges in the Arctic, working in close cooperation with the Permanent Participants," recognized "the right of Arctic indigenous peoples and the unique role of Permanent Participants within the Arctic Council, as well as the commitment to consult and cooperate in good faith with Arctic indigenous peoples and support their meaningful engagement in Arctic Council activities."

In addition, they welcomed "the ongoing strategic work" and instructed "the Senior Arctic Officials to continue strategic planning in order to provide guidance and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Arctic Council… and to report to Ministers in 2021."

While opening the meeting, Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini said that its participants would sign a joint ministerial statement instead of a joint declaration.

According to the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, this is the first time in the Arctic Council’s history that such a thing has happened. The paper claims the reason is that the Council’s members failed to agree on mentioning the need to combat climate changes and abide by the Paris Climate Agreement.

The Arctic Council was established in 1996 to promote cooperation between the Arctic countries, particularly in the environment protection area. Member states include Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.

Back-dated April 26, 2019 - Russian scientists explain difference between ice thawing in Eurasian, American Arctic
Russian scientists explain difference between ice thawing in Eurasian, American Arctic

© Lev Fedoseev/TASS

Researchers explain it by seasons and by specific air circulation in the Arctic.

A group of scientists with support from experts of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) described a mechanism, which explains why in the 21st century ice in the Eurasian Arctic thaws quicker than in the American part, the university’s press service said on Wednesday.

"Based on results of four expeditions in the Arctic Ocean and on satellite data, a group of Russian scientists with participation of MIPT experts described the ocean’s seasonal memory mechanism," the press service said. "The mechanism explains how the air circulation in the region contributes to the phenomenon, where in the 21st century ice in the Eurasian Arctic thaws quicker than in the American Arctic."

The global warming is more evident in the Arctic, than in any other places.

The ice degradation causes even bigger warming and consequently - further ice thawing. This never-ending circle may be explained by the facts that sunlight is reflected from ice, and water, on the contrary, absorbs and accumulates the warmth. Ice degradation differs through the Arctic’s regions. Scientists say in the 2000s, in the Eurasian Arctic the ice cover has been degrading even in winter, while in the American Arctic - in summer only.

Researchers explain it by seasons and by specific air circulation in the Arctic region.

"In late September, the ice layer is most thin. At that time, the ocean gains actively the sun heat. But if cold air comes in from the Pole or from Greenland, it takes some warmth. And vice versa: warm air from the mainland adds to the ocean’s heating," the press service quoted Mikhail Varentsov, who participated in the studies.

Scientists call this mechanism the seasonal memory: in winter the ice layer depends on the atmospheric conditions during the previous summer. In order to describe and explain the climate changes in the Arctic, the scientists collected data on water temperature and composition at different depths, as well as data on air temperature and humidity, on wind and other weather parameters in two circumpolar regions. The tests were taken during expeditions on research vessels in August-September 2003, 2005, 2013, and 2015.

Consequences from ice degradation
On one hand, less ice in the Arctic makes it easier to work in the region. The thinner and smaller the ice layer is, the easier is the navigation. In the 20th century, even in summer navigation along the Northern Sea Route was possible with icebreakers only. Cargo transportation could be easier and cheaper if vessels need fewer or no icebreakers there.

"At the same time, the climate change breaks the ecosystem’s balance," MIPT’s representatives said. "Take, for example, polar bears or seals - they need ice for rest and hunting. Or plankton, which may begin to multiply uncontrollably in warmer upper layers of water."

The studies were organized under the NABOS project (Nansen and Amundsen Basin Observational System), which continues since 2002.

Back-dated April 23, 2019 - Scientists study how lakes in Siberian Arctic influence the global warming
Scientists study how lakes in Siberian Arctic influence the global warming

© Artiom Geodakyan/TASS

These are the scientists from Russia, Sweden and France working in the framework of the international project SIWA "Siberian inland waters"

Scientists at the Tomsk State University jointly with partners from Sweden’s Umea University and France’s Midi-Pyrenees Observatory completed the first studies of lakes in the Siberian Arctic to see their impact on the Arctic climate. Received data will be helpful for climate change forecasts, the Russian University’s press service told TASS on Tuesday.

"The Tomsk University’s scientists and their counterparts from the Umea University, Sweden, and from Midi-Pyrenees Observatory, France, in the framework of the international project SIWA "Siberian inland waters" for the first time studied the emission of greenhouse gases from thermokarst lakes in Western Siberia’s permafrost zone <...> During the comprehensive studies, the international research group collected a large array of unique data on how Western Siberian thermokarst lakes contribute to the greenhouse effect. Using this data, scientists will understand better what environmental processes continue in the Russian Arctic zone, they will forecast what will happen to the permafrost and what climate changes the humanity will face in future," the press service said.

A huge number of thermokarst lakes is scattered across the Siberian Arctic - they emit lots of greenhouse gases. The lakes have attracted scientists from all over the world, especially those who work on long-term forecasts of the planet’s climate. Current forecasts use information about 5-10 lakes, which is not sufficient to understand how the greenhouse effect develops.

The scientists took tests from 76 lakes. The studies were made three times during the period of open water - in spring, summer and autumn. During the research, scientists measured concentration of dissolved carbon in lake water, studied the elemental composition, as well as volumes of emission (evaporation) of carbon dioxide and methane off the water surface. Thus, the scientists determined factors which affect the emission - depth of the lake, temperature of water and air, air pressure, air flows, etc.

"They saw that maximum emissions happen in spring, when lakes wake up from winter and throw into the air the stock they have kept through the winter," the press service said. "Another active period is the season of rains in autumn, when water-covered areas grow dramatically."

"Emissions are getting bigger from south to the north and the peak rates are registered at the permafrost areas, where they are by 2-5 times higher, than in the south," the University’s press service said.

The received information was published in the Nature Communications magazine and will be used for Arctic forecasts. -0kar.


The Living Force
Russia launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker on Saturday, part of an ambitious program to renew and expand its fleet of the vessels in order to improve its ability to tap the Arctic's commercial potential.

Russia, eyeing Arctic future, launches nuclear icebreaker
A view shows the nuclear-powered icebreaker Ural during the float out ceremony at the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg, Russia May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

The ship, dubbed the Ural and which was floated out from a dockyard in St Petersburg, is one of a trio that when completed will be the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world.

Russia is building new infrastructure and overhauling its ports as, amid warmer climate cycles, it readies for more traffic via what it calls the Northern Sea Route (NSR) which it envisages being navigable year-round.

The Ural is due to be handed over to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom in 2022 after the two other icebreakers in the same series, Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia), enter service.

“The Ural together with its sisters are central to our strategic project of opening the NSR to all-year activity,” Alexey Likhachev, Rosatom’s chief executive, was quoted saying.

President Vladimir Putin said in April Russia was stepping up construction of icebreakers with the aim of significantly boosting freight traffic along its Arctic coast.

The drive is part of a push to strengthen Moscow’s hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States and Norway, as well as newcomer China.

By 2035, Putin said Russia’s Arctic fleet would operate at least 13 heavy-duty icebreakers, nine of which would be powered by nuclear reactors.

The Arctic holds oil and gas reserves equivalent to 412 billion barrels of oil, about 22 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates.

Moscow hopes the route which runs from Murmansk to the Bering Strait near Alaska could take off as it cuts sea transport times from Asia to Europe.

Designed to be crewed by 75 people, the Ural will be able to slice through ice up to around 3 meters thick.

Slideshow (3 Images)
Russia, eyeing Arctic future, launches nuclear icebreaker

Nuclear-powered icebreaker Ural launched in St Petersburg


© Petr Kovalev/TASS
After being put into service, the icebreakers of that class will keep navigation in the Arctic open all year round.

The Ural, a third nuclear-powered icebreaker of Project 22220, was launched into the water at the Baltic Shipyards in St. Petersburg on Saturday, TASS reported.

"Today we are floating the third ship, or the second serial one of Project 22220 - the Ural. They are the ships from new generation icebreakers of that class that we pin our hopes on in exploration of the Northern Sea Route. It is a principally new ship," Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said at the ceremony.

According to Baltic Shipyards Director General Alexei Kadilov, these icebreakers are powered by a new module nuclear reactor, which is much more powerful than on previous vessels of Project 22220, along with a brand-new electric propulsion system made in Russia.

"And the most important thing is a new turbine which will provide 40-year operation for the icebreaker," Kadilov told reporters.

The universal nuclear-powered icebreakers of Project 22220 are designed to become the world’s largest and most powerful nuclear-powered icebreakers. Besides the Ural, the Arktika and the Sibir vessels are under construction at the Baltic Shipyards.

After being put into service, the icebreakers of that class will keep navigation in the Arctic open all year round. They will be capable of breaking through ice up to three meters thick to make way for convoys of ships. Apart from that, the icebreakers will help ensure transportation of hydrocarbons from the Yamal and Gydan peninsulas to Asia Pacific.
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