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'The few descriptions of Irkutsk had spoken of it as the Paris of Siberia'
Mrs John Clarence Lee, 1914

Russian Navy is back 'forever' to the Arctic waters off Siberia

By The Siberian Times reporter
16 September 2013

Permanent patrols commence led by the heavy nuclear-powered guided-missile cruiser Pyotr Velikiy.

An all-year military airfield on the Novosibirsk Islands is also planned, according to RIA Novosti. Pictured: 'Pyotr Velikiy' cruiser, courtesy Western Military District Northern Fleet press service

The Arctic is seen by all Northern countries as strategically important with vast untapped oil and gas wealth. Recently, a naval task forces began exercises around the Novosibirsk Islands.

'We arrived there or, more accurately, we have returned there forever,' announced Deputy Defence Minister Arkady Bakhin after a teleconference chaired by Defenсe Minister Sergei Shoigu. As well as the Pyotr Velikiy, the task force comprises the large amphibious assault ships Olenegorsky Gornyak and Kondopoga plus support vessels. 

'It is the first part of tasks set by the Russian president and the Defence Minister for the development and perfection of all sea lanes of the Northern Sea Route,' said Bakhin. 

Climate change has made the Northern Sea Route an increasingly attractive commercial proposition between Europe and Asia. An all-year military airfield on the Novosibirsk Islands is also planned, according to RIA Novosti. From October it will be able to land  AN72 and AN 74 planes. 

Northern Fleet forces are also expected to carry out assignments in the area of Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya.

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