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Defense Minister: Russia To Deploy Military Unit In The Arctic By 2018

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Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has said Russia will permanently deploy a military unit in the Arctic by 2018.

Russia first announced its intention to station troops in the Arctic in 2008.

Shoigu also said on October 22 that Russia was building several new bases in the Arctic -- including on Wrangel Island, Kotelny Island, and at Cape Schmidt -- as well as rebuilding six Soviet-era air bases there.

"We are not keeping this a secret -- we have practically created a base on the Novosibirsk Islands, the Island of Kotelny. This is a big military base, there was nothing such in the Soviet period," Shoigu said.

Russia is building up its Arctic military infrastructure as part of a recently updated naval doctrine, which proclaims the region as a top priority due to its mineral riches and strategic importance.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, and TASS