Russia And NATO Launch Massive War Games Over the Arctic

Russia And NATO Launch Massive War Games Over the Arctic
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The West launches massive Arctic military drills in the Nordic nations, a region worried by increased Russian military aggression.

Russia, in turn, decides to flex its muscles in the Arctic.

Tanks with armored vehicles on the Armata and Bumerang combat platforms, air defense missile batteries as well as other military hardware will soon be deployed in Russia’s Arctic regions.

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It has been announced Tuesday by the Russian Southern Military District’s press service.

The drills are set to feature the T-14 Armata cutting-edge main battle tank, which made its official first appearance during the May 9 Victory Day parade in Moscow. The tank features a new generation 125mm extended-length smoothbore cannon – the 2A82-1M.

Armata T-14 tank is equipped with the tracked platform that is able to host a fifth generation conventional land tank, artillery, heavy armored personnel carrier, and a missile launcher as well as a fully robotic armored vehicle. The gun is also able to fire laser-guided missiles with a tandem anti-tank warhead out to 5,000 meters.

Furthermore, the drills are likely to feature another beast of Russia’s military development – Pantsir S-1, which is a combined short to medium range surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery system and is capable of both target acquisition and tracking.

Vladimir Putin responds to NATO by launching military drills

The military exercises lasting four days were ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday. This is Russia’s third recent drills and will feature 12,000 troops, 250 aircraft and nearly 700 artillery pieces and other heavy weaponry.

The surprising thing is that the ordered by Putin military drills coincide with NATO’s military exercises that run from May 25 to 5 June.

NATO’s war games will involve 100 fighter jets and 4,000 military personnel from the US, Germany, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden and Finland.

“The aim is to exercise and train units in the orchestration and conduct of complex air operations, in close relations to NATO partners,” Norwegian brigadier general Jan Ove Rygg, heading the exercise, said in a statement.

The drills come as Russia has increasingly stepped up its military activity around the Nordic and Baltic region. Russia’s airspace invasions have been especially targeting the Baltic states.

Russia and the West flexing their muscles

There was a number of other aggressive moves and statements from the Kremlin.

Russia’s ambassador to Denmark said Russian nuclear missiles could be aimed at Danish navy ships in case the country decided to join NATO’s missile defense system.

In March, Russia’s fleet performed large-scale military drills in the Barents Sea, which involved 40,000 military personnel, over 150 combat aircraft and dozens of warships.

Last week, Russian naval forced completed 10 days of joint military operations with Chinese counterparts in the Mediterranean Sea.

NATO and the US, in turn, carried out joint military exercises with former Soviet states in recent weeks, including Georgia, which waged a war against Russia in 2008, and Ukraine, which has been fighting against pro-Russian rebels as well as Russia’s special ops units for over a year.

In 2014, Russia’s National Security Committee revised the country’s defense policy, identifying NATO as the primary threat to the Kremlin’s security.

Global arms producers are aggressive against Russia in the arms trade

The news come as Vladimir Putin has recently expressed his concerns that other countries are increasing their “aggressive” push to beat Russia in the arms trade.

During a meeting of the Commission for Military and Technical Cooperation on Monday, Putin urged Russian military hardware manufacturers to strengthen military as well as technical collaboration with Russia’s allies and partners.

“Of course, we have to work in a complex situation,” Putin said, according to ITAR-TASS. “We’re confronted ever more frequently with the attempt of direct counteraction and sometimes these attempts go beyond the framework of competitive struggle and are of an openly aggressive nature.”

“And perhaps political instruments are also used as camouflaged means of competitive struggle,” he added.

Putin called for Russian companies to implement import replacement programs in the country’s defense sector. He also added that Russia would benefit from entering new markets, but did not specify which ones.

Russia’s president said that his country clearly needs to “move forward” and implement higher standards as well as work on the development of cutting-edge new generation of armaments and military hardware.

Furthermore, Putin sees a great Russian future in teaching “worthy replacement” for high-class workers and specialists as well as deepening the country’s position on global markets.

Putin: in 2014, Russia signed contracts worth $14 billion

Putin claimed that Moscow’s arms exports amounted to $15.5 billion in 2014, and thus remained steadily at this level for the past three years.

He added that his country holds a “solid second place” in exporting weapons and military equipment.

As it was reported earlier by ValueWalk, the US remains the largest weapons exporter over the past five years, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported in its 2015 Yearbook.

According to the report, Russia remains the world’s second biggest arms trader behind the United States, increasing its share by 37 percent in 2010-2014.

The United States accounted for 31 percent of global arms exports in 2010-2014. Russia remains the second with 27 percent in the same time frame.

The United States and Russia made up 58 percent of the global trade in conventional arms.

However, Putin is not frustrated with Russia being on the second place. He believes that being the second is a significant achievement in such a complex and dynamically developing market with other countries being “noticeably behind.”

Russia signed a series of new military contracts worth $14 billion in 2014. According to Putin, “today, the export order book is stable and exceeds $50 billion.”

Furthermore, the Russia’s government rearmament campaign plans to invest $320 billion in modernizing the country’s military system and equipment by 2020.

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Polina Tikhonova is a writer, journalist and a certified translator. Over the past 7 years, she has worked for a wide variety of top European, American, Russian, and Ukrainian media outlets. Polina holds a Master's Degree in English Philology from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the Saint Petersburg State University. Her articles and news reports have been published by many newspapers, magazines, journals, blogs and online media sources across the globe. Polina is fluent in English, German, Ukrainian and Russian.
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