Russia is holding fresh military exercises on Tuesday in the Arctic region. This region is of growing importance for Moscow as it competes for regional dominance with its rivals including the United States.
The Russian military on March 20 launched a massive Arctic operation near Alexandra Land, part of the Franz Josef Land archipelago, that is expected to include more than 40 separate drills. On Monday, the defence ministry announced the beginning of command exercises by the Northern Fleet that would continue over several days.
This exercise includes tests of Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft systems, in-flight refuelling of a MiG-31 fighter jet, and jamming the controls of drones simulating an attack.
Last Friday, the drills saw three nuclear-powered submarines break ice and surface simultaneously and also featured a nuclear submarine firing a torpedo from beneath the ice. President Vladimir Putin praised the Arctic exercises on Friday, saying that the Russian military had proven its ability to operate even in harsh northern environments.
Tensions between the West and Russia have led both sides to beef up their militaries in the remote High North, an area believed to be rich in natural resources, and melting ice has opened up new shipping routes.