26.01.2022 | Putin readies for war as armada unleashed in Barents Sea - astonishing footage
Source - The Daily Express
The drills in the Arctic, which involve around 30 warships, 20 aircraft and 1,200 personnel, are designed to assess troops' combat readiness in the Arctic and their ability to protect the Northern Sea Route. Russian military moves are being closely watched by the West at a time when a troop build-up near its border with Ukraine has sparked fears of all out war.
The Northern Fleet said: "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."
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. It is not currently used in winter due to thick ice cover.
Russian authorities have said the country plans to begin year-round shipping via the Northern Sea Route in 2022 or 2023.
Moscow also held military drills on Wednesday and deployed more forces and fighter jets to Belarus for exercises to take place next month as part of its sweeping naval exercises.
The Defence Ministry said Russian artillery forces in the southern Rostov region that borders Ukraine were set to practice firing later on Wednesday as part of a combat readiness inspection of the Southern Military District.