Earlier media reports on Moscow’s military build-up in the Arctic and tests of the latest Russian weapons appeared
Russia’s military activities in the Arctic and its infrastructure buildup in the region have not gone unnoticed, the Pentagon said.
“We won’t go into the details of the intelligence, but of course we’re watching it very closely,” spokesman John Kirby said at a Pentagon briefing.
The announcement was preceded by media reports that Russia is amassing unprecedented military power in the Arctic and testing the latest weaponry to protect its northern coast and open a key shipping route from Asia to Europe.
Weapons experts and Western officials have expressed particular concern about Russia’s “superweapon,” the Poseidon 2M29 torpedo.
This unmanned stealth torpedo is nuclear-powered and designed to bypass coastal defense systems, such as the U.S., on the seabed.
According to Russian officials, the vehicle is designed to deliver a multi-megaton warhead, the use of which could cause a radioactive wave that would render targeted parts of the coastline uninhabitable for decades.
Satellite images provided to CNN by technology company Maxar detail the serious and continuous build-up of Russian military bases and equipment on the country’s Arctic coast. They also show underground depots, probably designed to store Poseidons and other new high-tech weapons.
Other Russian equipment in the Far North, according to experts, includes MiG-31BM bombers and aircraft, as well as new radar systems near the Alaskan coast.
“Clearly, the Russians are posing a military challenge in the Arctic,” an unnamed senior State Department official told CNN. – “This has implications for the U.S. and its allies, not least because it creates opportunities to project military power all the way to the North Atlantic.
The U.S. has its own interests in the Arctic, Kirby noted.
“We certainly recognize that the region is a vital area for our own defense and a potential strategic corridor between the Indo-Pacific, Europe and our homeland, which would make it vulnerable to increasing competition,” Kirby said. “We are committed to advancing U.S. national security interests in the Arctic by maintaining a rules-based order in the region, especially through our network of allies and partners in the Arctic who share the same deep mutual interests that we do.”
The “Arctic Strategy,” presented to Congress by the Department of Defense in 2019, outlines three goals for the military establishment in the Arctic: protecting the United States, ensuring that shared spaces are free and open, and competing when necessary to maintain a favorable balance of power in the region.
“The Arctic is a potential corridor between the Indo-Pacific, Europe and the United States for enhanced strategic rivalry,” the report said. – Strategic rivals could go to malicious or coercive actions in the Arctic to achieve their goals in those regions.”
Kirby said the U.S. military is well aware of Russian activities in the Arctic and reiterated that the U.S. has its own interests that it will pursue.
“Certainly we’re watching it, and as I said, we have national security interests there that we have to protect,” he said. – “As I said, no one is interested in militarizing the Arctic.