JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Military Posture in the Arctic; Managing Hard Power in a ‘Low Tension’ Environment” – Chatham House/ Mathieu Boulègue
- “… Russia’s military build-up in the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation (AZRF) primarily aims to ensure perimeter defence of the Kola Peninsula for the survivability of second-strike nuclear assets. Russia’s ‘Bastion’ defence concept consists of the projection of multi-layered sea denial and interdiction capabilities.
- Another Russian priority is … Northern Fleet access to … the Northern Sea Route (NSR) from the Atlantic … to the Pacific …. [D]ue to … receding ice, Moscow will seek to enforce ‘border control’ over a larger portion …. revamping … dual-use … infrastructure ….
- Since the mid-2010s, Russia has deployed substantive force and capabilities along its northern border in the AZRF [Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation]. [Elements of the Russian military] such as the Arctic Brigade are now Arctic-capable … [with Arctic-focused] concepts of operations …. The Northern Fleet has been repurposed [for] the Arctic environment … provided with Arctic-specific military technology and training.
- * * * * Russia’s military leadership rules out starting a conflict in the Arctic, and would push any … conflict towards sea lines of communication between the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea. … [yet] risk … of escalation and miscalculation [exist] ….
- … Russia will chair the Arctic Council and … Arctic Coast Guard Forum between 2021 and 2023 ….
Innovative efforts can be made to strengthen military security and domain awareness … start[ing] with … a military code of conduct for the High North. … signal[ing] that cooperation should remain an absolute priority … that maintaining the region’s ‘low tension’ status requires action, not just words. …”