Moscow, Jan 4 (IANS) The Russian navy will expand its air patrol ranges in the Arctic in 2014, echoing President Vladimir Putin’s calls to strengthen the country’s presence in that region, media reported Friday.
“In 2014, the naval aviation of the Northern Fleet will significantly expand the geography of Arctic patrol flights,” the RIA Novosti news agency quoted the fleet’s spokesperson Vadim Serga as saying, Xinhua reported.
Noting the fleet’s Tu-142 and Il-38 reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft had completed more than 30 patrol missions in the region in 2013, Serga said the navy would use the network of a revamped Soviet-era airfield, the Temp airfield, on the New Siberian Islands.
The Russian defence ministry has also said that it would deploy a combine-arms force in the Arctic region by 2015.
Putin has said earlier that Russia would never “surrender” its Arctic area. In December, the president ordered the defence ministry to take every step necessary to protect Russia’s security and national interests in the region.