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Russia setting up Arctic military base

Darko JanjevicOctober 21, 2015

Russia is close to completing a permanent military compound on the northern island of Alexandra Land, the country's officials say. The base can 'comfortably' house 150 soldiers with enough supplies for 18 months.

Russischer Eisbrecher in der Kara See
Image: AFP/Getty Images/K. Kudryavtsev

The "Arctic Trefoil" compound, located on 80th parallel north has been built using the latest technologies to prevent energy loss, Russia's defense ministry said on Tuesday.

The construction teams have paved the roads on the remote island and the main building is 97 percent complete, according to the officials.

Once finished, the base would allow "comfortable accommodation and fulfilling of military duties for a group of 150 people," the ministry said on its website.

The soldiers would be able to move between different sections of the base without going out to face the extreme cold. Winter temperatures dip to minus 47 degrees Celsius (-57 Fahrenheit) in the region.

The military also constructed a fueling station on Alexandra Land, which would pump fuel from tankers and pass it to the compound.

The 14,000 square meters (150,000 square feet) base should be able to function autonomously for a year and a half.

Arctic nations squabbling

Russia has boosted its military presence in the far north, based on its recently updated Naval Doctrine, recognizing the strategic importance of the Arctic and its natural resources.

Earlier this year, Moscow filed a claim at the UN covering a vast swath of the region including the North Pole. According to Russian estimates, the territory holds 4.9 billion tons of fossil fuel. Its navy has also held military exercises in the far north.

Russia has already built a base similar to the "Arctic Trefoil" on the 75th parallel, in the East Siberian Sea.

The US, Denmark, Norway and Canada have also made their own claims to the Arctic region, with ice melt easing access to energy resources in the area.