Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited the notorious nuclear-testing Arctic island amid fears the Kremlin is set to defy the West by resuming military nuclear tests.
Shoigu’s trip to Novaya Zemlya, a remote Arctic archipelago, is taking place amid massive military exercises by Vladimir Putin’s Northern Fleet that includes 20 ships and more than 8,000 troops.
It is the first time the defense minister has visited the region since Putin said Russia was ready “if necessary” to conduct new nuclear tests for the first time since the Soviet era in 1990.
Shoigu ” inspected the remote Arctic outposts of the Northern Fleet” and “in particular, checked the organization of official activities on Novaya Zemlya,” state news agency RIA Novosti reported today.
It is worth noting that he was accompanied by Alexey Likhachev, general director of ROSATOM, Russia’s state nuclear energy company.
Meanwhile “a detachment of [naval] ships of the Northern Fleet went to sea to solve problems in the Arctic zone”.
Shoigu’s visit followed a call by Putin’s former space agency chief, Dmitry Rogozin, to resume banned tests at Novaya Zemlya.
“We have to make sure [the West’s] buttocks start shaking with fear ,” he said.
“I would start…I would do it and I wouldn’t wait for the Americans ,” he said in May.
Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu recently visited a detachment of warships in the remote Arctic region.— CGTN Europe Breaking News (@CGTNEuropebreak) August 12, 2023
Shoigu was sent to a Soviet “nuclear test site”.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the head of Russia’s state nuclear company Rosatom, Alexey Likhachev, inspected the Central Test Site at Novaya Zemlya, a Soviet-era polygon used to conduct nuclear tests.
The polygon was established on September 17, 1954.
From September 21, 1955 to October 24, 1990, the USSR conducted 132 tests of atmospheric, underground, underwater, surface, and ground-based nuclear weapons.
Today, the main tasks of the Central Nuclear Test Site are the preparation and testing of advanced (nuclear?) weapons and military equipment.
Russia has been building up its military presence in the Arctic in recent years, before its invasion of Ukraine. It has reconstructed in this remote area several bases that had been abandoned since the Soviet Union period and has developed advanced weapons such as S-400 anti-aircraft systems.
The region, in addition to its huge hydrocarbon reserves, is also of interest to Moscow because of the Northeast Passage which is turning – due to global warming and melting ice – into an important sea route between Europe and Asia.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu inspected the remote Arctic garrisons of the Northern Fleet, in particular, checked the organization of official activities on Novaya Zemlya, where one of Russia's nuclear test sites is located.— Victor vicktop55 (@vicktop55) August 12, 2023
Putin rattles the nuclear sabre again: Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu visits Arctic island notorious for testing nukes – as Kremlin stages huge naval war games— John B Tawn (@27Tawnyowl) August 12, 2023
via https://t.co/SoLYFq4fjs https://t.co/nJyBJcSKh0
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