Russia, China, and the US are all racing towards the Arctic region, trying to establish their military dominance in part of the world where $35 trillion worth of national resources could be hiding underneath the ocean floor. Now Russia is dashing its way into the Arctic, announcing on Monday that new missile defense systems have been deployed to the region.
The Russian Northern Fleet said the new S-400 Triumph system had been installed on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the Arctic.
"The air defense regiment of the Russian Northern Fleet deployed on Yuzhny island of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago has been completely reequipped with new S-400 systems," the statement reads.
The surface to air-missile regiment of the Northern Fleet's air defense forces has been equipped with S-400s, which is considered the most advanced missile defense systems in the world and can hit enemy targets at up to 248 miles.
On Wednesday morning, Directorate for the Russian Federation State Border Arrangement told the Krasnoyarsk news agency NGS24, that a large radar station will be built at Cape Chelyuskin, which is about 800 or so miles east of where the S-400s are stationed.
The project is officially called "Radiotechnical point Chelyuskin," and includes a project cost of approximately $19 million. Expected completion of the radar station will be within 33 months.
Novaya Zemlya and Cape Chelyuskin are located in the northernmost point of Russia. This area is where all shipping along the Northern Sea Route passes, is considered a strategic area in Russian Arctic development.
Russia has been aggressively expanding its military presence in the Arctic in the last several years. It has also been increasing exploration activities, such as oil and gas and mineral extraction.
Washington has widely criticized Moscow for its increased presence in the Arctic. Responding to criticism, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow isn't intimidating anyone, noting that increased defenses capabilities in the Arctic are to protect its assets.
Russia and China are establishing the "Polar Silk Road" in the Arctic as warming temperatures give way to new shipping lanes and economic opportunities.
The Arctic is home to at least 20-25% of the world's untapped fossil-fuel resources, along with minerals, including gold, silver, diamond, copper, titanium, graphite, uranium, and other rare earth minerals.
Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the US have established the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental cooperation forum, that holds biennial ministerial meetings on the region. It's an attempt to stabilize the Arctic and avoid conflict as corporations and governments rush into the area to seize new economic opportunities.
With the latest news of Russia militarizing the Arctic, this will not sit well with the Trump administration who has been trying to buy Greenland. The Arctic and its resources will be a major topic of the 2020s and beyond, the first to secure its military in the region could become the next superpower of the world.