The Russian Navy is conducting an exercise in the Northern Sea Route and is sailing to the Siberian Islands. For the first time, the Russian 80. Independent Rifle Brigade (80th) joins the four ships deployed.
The 80th is currently stationed in Alakurtti, close to the border to Finland in the southwestern part of the Murmansk oblast. The Russian base is approximately some 50 kilometres from the Finnish border. The 80th was first deployed to this location in January 2015 and has conducted several Arctic and survival trainings ever since.
The “Severomorsk”, an Udaloy-class anti-submarine warfare destroyer commissioned on 30 December 1987, is leading the exercise. The “Kondopoga” and “Georgiy Pobedonosets”, two Ropucha-class large landing craft, are also deployed to support and board the soldiers and equipment of the 80th. The “Sergey Osipov”, a Boris Chilikin-class replenishment tanker, will enable the flotilla to stay at sea for a longer period of time. Three other support vessels are sailing along the “Severomorsk”.
The vessels will sail along the Northern Sea Route to visit several Russian Arctic ports and will head to the Siberian Islands where a Soviet-era air base, closed in the 1990s, is being modernized and in the process of reopening.
Russian Marines will perform amphibious landing and unloading equipment in the Siberian Islands. Many live fire exercises will also be conducted. According TV21.ru: “One of the objectives of the campaign, which will have to fulfill the sailors will be search and rescue support and development of skills to assist conventional vessels in distress in the high latitudes.”
The Russian Navy is conducting this exercise for a fourth year in a row. Aimed at defending Russia’s economic assets in the Arctic, the exercise will ensure a presence in the Northern Sea Route to enhance its security.
You can watch a video on the Arctic Brigade preparation for this exercise here.