North Pole 2015 station to open April 18

North Pole 2015 station to open April 18

The Russian research Arctic drifting station North Pole 2015 will start operations on April 18, said Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donskoi.

"On March 27, an ice floe was found for the drifting station. A base camp is currently being deployed and the first equipment has already been supplied. The station will officially open on April 18," he said at a news conference in Moscow, adding that 20 people would work at the station for up to three months.

The minister said due to spending cuts, the station's budget was 205 million rubles instead of 225 million, but that this would not affect the scope of its operations.

"Stations like North Pole 2015 are necessary to reinforce Russia's position in the Arctic, so the state has supported and will continue to support these projects," he said.

Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry said military transport aircraft had started delivering equipment to the North Pole for the station. Over 50 metric tons of equipment and fuel, including a power generator, foodstuffs and a tractor, would be delivered to the ice floe.