The Kotelny Island facility lies between the Laptev Sea and Eastern Siberian sea in in the centre of the region’s strategically important main shipping route. Commanding officer Lt Colonel Vladimir Pasechnik said: “Our task is to monitor the airspace and the northern sea route. “We have all we need for our service and comfortable living.”
The Kremlin has pumped vast resources into modernising Soviet-era installations as part of its effort to stake Russia’s claims on the Arctic region.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the military had rebuilt or expanded numerous facilities across the polar region, revamping runways and deploying air defence assets.
Mr Shoigu told Kremlin officials Russia’s infrastructure in the Arctic is most advanced and unrivaled in the whole world.
He said: ”We are pushing ahead with step-by-step work on the Arctic islands. Airdromes are being restored and the most advanced infrastructures created.
“I can say with certainty that no other country in the world has the type of modern infrastructures Russia has.”
He said renovation works were conducted on a long string of Arctic territories with military infrastructure also being created on Franz Josef Land, Alexandra Land, Sredny Island, Wrangel Island, Cape Schmidt, the New Siberian Islands and the Kuril Islands.
The expanded infrastructure has allowed the Russian military to restore full radar coverage of the nation’s 14,000-mile Arctic frontier and deploy fighter jets to protect its airspace.
The military also has undertaken a clean-up effort across the region, working to remove tens of thousands of tons of waste from the Arctic territories, most of it rusty fuel tanks left behind by the Soviet military.
Russia is not alone in trying to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic with the US, Canada, Denmark and Norway all jostling for position and China showing an increasing interest in the polar region.
And Moscow’s ambitions have not gone unnoticed by neighbouring nations.
Flemming Splidsboel Hansen of the Danish Institute for International Studies said: “In Russia, the Northern sea route has been described as a bonanza with lots of potential of economic development.
“And that’s why there is a need for military capacity in the area. It is likely meant as defensive, but it is being interpreted by the West as offensive.”