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Russia To Deploy Weather Satellite Group In Arctic

Russia plans to deploy satellites to monitor the Arctic, a region President Vladimir Putin has set out as a priority because of its strategic location and natural resource riches.

The Federal Space Agency, Roskosmos, said on October 6 that "two Arktika-M satellites will be placed in a highly elliptical near-Earth orbit" soon to monitor the weather and environment in the region.

Officials have said a new military command will be formed in the Arctic region by the end of 2014 and two motor-rifle brigades will start serving within the Russian army group there in 2015-16.

Russia is looking to the Arctic as a source of oil and gas, but Western sanctions against companies such as state giant Rosneft have thrown up a hurdle to its drilling plans.

Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS