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Russia Launches Military Drills In Arctic

Russia has launched military exercises in the Arctic as it seeks to bolster claims to the region's energy and mineral resources.

The Defense Ministry quoted Vladimir Korolyov, the commander of Russia's northern naval fleet, as saying on August 24 that the drills in northern Siberia were aimed at "increasing the security of the Russian Arctic, ensuring our state's economic freedom in this region, and protecting our territory and targets from potential military threats."

Korolyov added that the exercises, which are to involve more than 1,000 soldiers and 14 aircraft, were "purely defensive" and not directed against any third country.

Russia conducted similar military exercises in May.

The country has been trying to stake claim to more of the region's vast hydrocarbon and mineral wealth, increasingly accessible due to the receding ice caps.

Based on reporting by AFP and Interfax