Nuclear-Powered Ice Breakers
- Recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin virtually presided over the launch and flag raising ceremony of two nuclear-powered icebreakers at St. Petersburg and said such icebreakers were of “strategic importance”.
- As the Arctic becomes more accessible due to climate change, opening up new routes and resources, neighbouring nations are racing to strengthen their forces, with Russia clearly leading them.
- Speaking at the ceremony for their launching, Mr. Putin said that the two icebreakers were built as part of a massive, systematic effort to restock and equip the domestic icebreaker fleet and to enhance Russia’s standing as a “great Arctic force.”
- The 173.3-meter-long “Yakutia,” which can break through three metres of ice and can displace up to 33,540 tonnes, was launched.
- The Ural, which is scheduled to start operations in December, had its flag raised, while the Yakutia, according to Mr. Putin, will begin operations by the end of 2024.
- Putin discussed the significance of the Northern Sea Route, which, in comparison to the current route via the Suez canal, shortens the travel time to Asia by up to two weeks.
- Accordingly, “diversifying and scaling up naval activity on the Spitsbergen, Franz Josef Land, and Novaya Zemlya archipelagos and Wrangel Island” are part of the revised Russian naval doctrine, which was announced in July.
- Arctic and near-Arctic states have been racing to improve their capacities in an effort to be ready to take advantage of the melting Arctic. Other Arctic republics have gotten on board with Russian military modernization in the region.
- The Arctic, unlike Antarctica, does not contribute to the issue by being a global common.
- As an illustration, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been doing regular drills in the area while its allies are spending money modernising their militaries.
- At the same time, China, which describes itself as a country bordering the Arctic, has revealed ambitious ambitions to build enormous icebreakers and establish a ‘polar silk route’ connecting China to Europe.
Source The Hindu