A ROYAL Navy aircraft carrier led 25 warships in a show of force as the UK joined NATO’s biggest Arctic military exercise in 30 years.
A total of six Royal Navy ships and 2,000 British personnel joined ships and troops from 26 other countries in an exercise called Cold Response.
The drill kicked off Monday in Norway amid growing tensions between Russia and the West over the invasion of Ukraine.
HMS Prince of Wales, which currently serves as NATO’s command ship, sailed north to the Arctic to take part in the exercise which will include 30,000 troops, 200 aircraft and 50 ships.
RFA Mounts Bay alongside HMS Albion is leading the UK’s amphibious contribution to Cold Response.
HMS Prince of Wales joined the Cold Response task force shortly after air defense exercises in the North Sea alongside some of Britain’s F-35B Lightning jets from No. 617 Squadron, the Dambusters, last Friday.
The exercise which takes place every two years will involve more than twice as many personnel as the 14,000 planned for the same exercise in 2020.
It comes amid fears in the West that the Russian leader is using the invasion as an excuse to expand into the Arctic.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The Arctic is becoming an area of increasing military competition and the security of the region is directly linked to our national security.
“Exercise Cold Response is a demonstration of NATO’s ability to operate and compete in one of the most challenging environments in the world and a demonstration of how a multinational force would defend Europe’s northern flank. .”
Russia’s aspirations in the Arctic were highlighted last year when Putin strengthened his military grip in the region with Su-34 bombers, Su-35 fighters and Be-200 amphibious planes undergoing tests of deployment.
Moreover, a few months later, the Russian president set up a remote military base below zero.
It comes like…
- Russia has imposed a ban on Joe Biden and called on Alaska to become part of its territory again.
- Volodymyr Zelensky has admitted that Ukraine may never join NATO in a key concession that could pave the way to peace.
- Putin’s troops have taken hundreds of hospital staff and patients hostage in the besieged city of Mariupol.
- Dramatic footage shows the moment a Russian tank was blown to bits by Ukrainian forces.
The Nagurskoye military air base is teeming with missiles and radar while its elongated runway is ready to fly nuclear-capable strategic bombers.
In 2017, Moscow released the first images of Putin’s top-secret military base on the arctic island of Alexandra Land.
The giant northern ice cap complex is believed to be fully armed with nuclear-ready missile systems and combat aircraft.
Putin is believed to want to secure the frozen region’s vast oil reserves.
As temperatures rise across the world, more parts of the Arctic have opened up to the oil and gas exploration that Russia is keen to exploit.
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