Moscow, Feb 18 (IECurrentAffairs) UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced on Sunday the increase in the country’s military presence in the Arctic to counter Russia’s activities in the region.
“Whether it’s sharpening our skills in sub-zero conditions, learning from longstanding allies like Norway or monitoring submarine threats with our Poseidon aircraft, we will stay vigilant to new challenges,” Williamson said, as quoted by the Telegraph newspaper, adding that the new P8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft would be used to constraint activities of Russian submarines in the region.
Williamson made his statement during a visit to a new base of Royal Marines in the area of Bardufoss in northern Norway.
The Royal Marines will also be deploying over 1,000 troops to Norway annually over the 10-year period for training within an agreement between the two states, he added.
Nine P8 Poseidon planes will be deployed to the Royal Air Force Lossiemouth airbase in Scotland in 2020 to conduct reconaissance in the North Atlantic and in the Arctic.
Williamson has repeatedly expressed concerns over Russia’s allegedly increasing military presence in the Arctic and attempts to militarize the region. London also earlier voiced fears that navigation in the Arctic could be limited as a result of Moscow’s actions.
Russia has consistently refuted the allegations, noting that it considers the Arctic to be an area for constructive dialogue and equal, conflict-free cooperation in the interests of all nations