Russia to start great Arctic program
The plans include the construction of new ports, Arctic ships and an increase in cargo turnover
/NOVOSTIVL/ President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday put forward an ambitious program to secure Russia’s foothold in the Arctic, including efforts to build new ports and other infrastructure facilities and expand an icebreaker fleet.
Speaking at the Arctic forum in St. Petersburg attended by leaders of Finland, Denmark, Iceland and Norway, Putin said that Russia plans to dramatically increase cargo shipments across the Arctic sea route.
He said that the amount of cargo carried across the shipping lane is set to increase from 20 million metric tons last year to 80 million tons in 2025.
"This is a realistic, well-calculated and concrete task," Putin said.
He noted that Russia, the only nation with a nuclear icebreaker fleet, is moving to expand it.
Russia currently has four nuclear icebreakers, and Putin said that three new such ships are currently under construction. By 2035, Russia stands to have a fleet of 13 heavy icebreakers, including nine nuclear-powered ones, he said.