Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Many Western countries are concerned about Russia's strategic capabilities in the Arctic. (Archive photo)
However, technological obstacles remain numerous in a country which is used to importing parts to high added value.
As for the Arctic fleet, replacing a number of technologies from unfriendly countries is the main challenge, Alexei Chekounkov, the minister responsible for the Arctic, admitted in May.
In recent months, Russia has had to turn to third countries to obtain parts for its LNG carriers, which are often produced in Asia with Western technologies to which Moscow no longer has access.
At this point, the Russian fleet is limited to 30 operational Arctic-class ships with another 33 under construction. However, Russia eventually needs around a hundred ships, according to Rosatom boss Alexei Likhachev.
Thus, if the authorities Russians aim to transport some 190 million tonnes of cargo in 2030 via the Northern Sea Route, this volume is far from competing with the Suez Canal and its 1.41 billion tonnes delivered in 2022.
Another consequence of the lack of Arctic tankers, Russia sent two conventional tankers to the Arctic in September towards China, without the assistance of an approved icebreaker to open the route for them. p>
A saving of time, certainly, but what are the consequences for the environment?
If ships without ice certification start sailing in these waters, then there could be a great risk of oil spills, Mr. Humpert told AFP.
Militarily, the Arctic zone is also a strategic priority, with Russia sharing the region with its Western enemies: the United States, Canada and northern Europeans.
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At the same time, Canada is also increasing its military presence in the north of the country. (File photo)
Thus, even in the midst of an offensive in Ukraine, Russia is constantly strengthening its Arctic capabilities, reopening or modernizing bases and airfields dating from the Soviet era.
Russia has also deployed S-300 and S-400 missiles, extended runways to accommodate planes capable of carrying nuclear bombs and built imposing radar installations, explains Mr. Humpert.
Last August, the Northern Fleet, responsible for the Arctic, conducted military exercises with more than 8,000 soldiers and several submarines.< /p>
Increased competition and militarization in the Arctic region, particularly from Russia and China, are worrying, noted in November ;Admiral Rob Bauer, head of the NATO military committee.
We must remain vigilant and prepare for the unexpected, added -he.