Russia holding military drills in the strategic Arctic region

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Russia holding military drills in the strategic Arctic region



Kremlin says exercises in the fossil fuel rich polar region are for humanitarian reasons



Russia has been holding military drills in the Arctic using paratroopers and rapid reaction forces. That's according to the Russian airforce, which told Russian media agency TASS the drills were part of a so-called "humanitarian search and rescue expedition."

Russia has been strident in recent months over their Arctic ambitions, by undertaking military training exercises and drawing up plans for extensive oil drilling.

Russia, Norway, Canada, Denmark and the US have all made terroritorial claims at the United Nations over control of the polar region.

In response to massive Russian drills all across the European continent, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said NATO is keeping a close eye on Russia.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary-General: "Every nation has the right to exercise its forces, also Russia, of course. But the challenge with the pattern of exercises we see in Russia now is it fits into broader picture of a more assertive Russia, a Russia which is responsible for aggressive actions in Ukraine and it fits also into the broader picture of Russia which has invested heavily in new capabilities in defense which is exercising much more and which has been willing to use force, not only exercise, but to use force to change borders and annex a part of another country."

More than 45,000 Russian troops as well as war planes and submarines took part in military exercises across much Russia over the past weeks in one of the Kremlin's biggest shows of force since its ties with the West plunged to Cold War-lows.
 
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