Russian President Vladimir Putin put the nation’s northern fleet on full alert in the Arctic Ocean this week, as the U.S. and several Eastern European NATO countries conduct a series of military exercises near Russia's border.
According to the ministry, the operational zone of Russian warships during the exercises will be expanded to several areas of the Norwegian Sea.
The order issued on Monday allows for the mobilization of 38,000 military personnel, 3,360 pieces of equipment, 41 ships, 15 submarines and 110 airplanes, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu
. This was followed by Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered
to bring the country’s Northern Fleet to full alert in a snap combat readiness exercise.
A range of military exercises were personally ordered by Putin and coincided with his first public appearance in 10 days.
The main task of the (combat readiness drill) is to assess the armed forces from the Northern Fleet's capabilities in fulfilling tasks in providing military security of the Russian Federation in the Arctic region, he added.
“New challenges and threats of military security demand the further heightening of military capabilities of the armed forces and special attention will be paid to the state of the newly formed strategic merging [of forces] in the North,” said Shoigu, according to state media outlet Sputnik.
The mobilization of the Russian fleet appears to have been triggered by ongoing NATO-led military drills across northern and eastern European, including maritime exercises in the Black Sea.
Russia’s Northern fleet has its main base in Severomorsk north of Murmansk and several bases where nuclear powered submarines are located from Gadzhievo in the east to Zapadnaya Litsa in the east. In addition to the naval bases, the garrisons like Sputnik and 19 Kilometres in the Pechenga valley near the border to Norway are within the structures of the fleet.
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov also said on Tuesday that Russia had notified the countries of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) of the snap exercises by the troops from the Northern Fleet.