Putin: Arctic is extremely important for national defense
The Arctic will be increasingly important for Russia's national defense, which means the region's border need protection, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his June 15 "Direct Line," the annual live press conference with the nation.
"Let us not forget about the purely military aspect of the matter: this is an extremely important region from the point of view of ensuring our country's defense capability.[…] We need to have a clear idea of what is happening there. We must protect this shore accordingly, and ensure proper border guarding. On top of everything, from the point of view of strategic weapons, the flight route of the ground-based missiles located in the United States passes precisely above the North Pole. I hope it will never come to that, but since we are aware of it, we just need to make sure that the missile warning system and the missile launch control system are in place. This is what the Arctic means to us," the President said.
He added that the Government had paid less attention to this matter earlier, because "we were not able to afford it."
"Now we are back at it," Putin said.
He also added that if climate change continues, the maritime navigation season will become longer, which is also of strategic importance for Russia.