US-Russian Race for Arctic Dominance Heats Up

Russian servicemen of the Northern Fleet’s Arctic mechanised infantry brigade participate in a military drill on riding reindeer and dog sleds near the settlement of Lovozero outside Murmansk, Russia January 23, 2017. Picture taken January 23, 2017. Lev Fedoseyev/Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation/Handout via REUTERS

Al-Awsat, 14 May 2017

Moscow- The race between Russia and the United States for dominance in the Arctic region risks heating up the dispute between them.

Since 2013, Russia has been interested in consolidating its military presence in the area. Sergei Shoigu, the defense minister, is presiding over the re-opening or creation of several military facilities, some of which will be ready by the year’s end.

The Russian moves have prompted US Senator Dan Sullivan to call for more US military presence in the northern areas of the State of Alaska.

He told the German News Agency (DPA) in an interview that Russia, whose territory lies only 100 kilometers away from Alaska, has made military improvements in the area.

He warned that Russia is making a huge military expansion there, saying its airplanes overflew the area at least five times in a month.

Sullivan also called for sending new US icebreakers there.

Earlier in the week, a Russian fighter jet intercepted a US reconnaissance plane over the Black Sea. Moscow refused to consider it a “risk.”

“The Kremlin does not think that the interception was an unjustified risk,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

“No, the Kremlin does not think so,” the presidential spokesman said in reply to the relevant question.

US President Donald Trump had said during his presidential campaign that Russian warplanes should be brought down if they pose a threat to US fighter jets.

Earlier NBC reported citing the US Navy that a Russian fighter jet flew within 20 feet of a US Navy P-8A Poseidon over the Black Sea. The US aircraft “was conducting routine operations in international airspace,” according to Captain Pamela Kunze, a spokeswoman for US Naval Forces Europe.

The interaction was considered safe and professional by the US aircraft’s commander, she said.

Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed that the US surveillance aircraft was intercepted by a Russian Su-30 fighter jet over the Black Sea.

“The Russian fighter jet performed a maneuver of ‘greeting’ for the US pilots and after that the US surveillance plane changed the flight route towards moving from the border with Russia. The Su-30 fighter jet safely returned to its base airfield,” the ministry said.

This incident was not the first between the US and Russia. Last month, Fox News quoted US officials as saying that for two consecutive nights, Russia flew two long-range bombers off the coast of Alaska, coming within 36 miles of the mainland while flying north of the Aleutian Islands.

The two nuclear-capable Tu-95 bombers were spotted by US military radar.


Admiral Kuznetsov “heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser”, flagship of the Russian Navy and Northern Fleet.
Akula-II submarine of the Northern Fleet. The Akula II is approximately 230 tons larger in displacement and 2.5m greater in LOA compared to that of the Akula I’s.
Training mission of a pair of Sukhoi Su-30s of the 279th fighter wing of the Northern Fleet aviation.


5 thoughts on “US-Russian Race for Arctic Dominance Heats Up”

  1. They are starting to push the boundaries a little harder. Trump will have to be careful about what he threatens, they might call his bluff either accidentally or otherwise.

  2. Your posting shows why those in Washington should have never cut back the number of ground troupes in Alaska. Maybe with the combined military exercise “Northern Edge” showing how our military needs more training in Arctic conditions congress will redirect funds to reinforce the number of servicemen up here.

    1. Let’s hope so, there is a severe shortage of U.S. and NATO forces in the Arctic, Canada’s military has been severely cut and the U.S. are expected to make up the shortfall once again. Thanks for your comment Pete.

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