Russian warships entered the Barents Sea on January 27 to rehearse protecting a major shipping lane in the Arctic.
ccording to Russia, it would stage a series of drills involving all its fleets in the seas directly adjacent to Russia. The exercises will include maneuvers in the Mediterranean, the North Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, the northeast Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific.
The latest drills in the Arctic, which involve around 30 warships, 20 aircraft and 1,200 personnel, aim to assess troops’ combat readiness in the Arctic and their ability to protect the Northern Sea Route.
The exercises will see troops rehearse repelling military threats and help “ensure the security of sea lanes and Russia’s areas of maritime economic activity in the northern seas in the event of a crisis,” as the Northern Fleet said.
As Reuters reports, Russia has invested heavily in infrastructure to develop the Northern Sea Route and hopes it will become a major shipping lane as the Arctic warms at a faster rate than the rest of the world.
Currently, this route is not used in winter because of thick ice cover.
In addition, Russian authorities have said the country plans to begin year-round shipping via the Northern Sea Route in 2022 or 2023.