According to a report by AP, during the Cold War, Russia’s Nagurskoye air base was little more than a runway, a weather station and a communications outpost in the Franz Josef Land archipelago. It was a remote and desolate home mostly for polar bears, where temperatures plunge in winter to minus -42 degrees Celsius and the snow only disappears from August to mid-September. Now, Russia’s northernmost military base is bristling with missiles and radar and its extended runway can handle all types of aircraft, including nuclear-capable strategic bombers, projecting Moscow’s power and influence across the Arctic amid intensifying international competition for the region’s vast resources.
Russia has sought to assert its influence over wide areas of the Arctic in competition with the United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway as shrinking polar ice from the warming planet offers new opportunities for resources and shipping routes. China also has shown an increasing interest in the region, believed to hold up to one-fourth of the Earth’s undiscovered oil and gas. Russian President Vladimir Putin has cited estimates that put the value of Arctic mineral riches at $30 trillion. Läs artikel