The connection will ensure safe navigation along the Northern Sea Route
The Ministry of Defense has begun to create a coastal defense division in Chukotka. At the end of last year, the first regiment was formed, which took up combat duty. The unit will patrol the coast and will have at its disposal everything necessary to repel the landing. The area of operation of the new unit will stretch along the Northern Sea Route up to Wrangel Island. The connection should provide safer shipping in the region, experts said.
Regiment by regiment
Sources in the military department told Izvestia that the formation of the division began at the end of last year. Currently, the first coastal defense regiment has already been deployed in Chukotka. Its important task will be to control the coast along the Northern Sea Route. In the region, where snow lies for nine months a year and strong winds blow, the created unit will receive special equipment - snowmobiles, modular life support systems, field canteens, all-terrain vehicles, the sources explained. True, the timing of when the unit will be fully staffed and ready to serve is still unknown.
For the first time, the head of the military department Sergei Shoigu spoke about plans to create a division in Chukotka in 2016. Then Izvestia wrote that it should include unique units that will operate on four- and six-wheeled ATVs. Their task is to patrol the coast and prevent saboteurs from landing. In the event of a large-scale assault by an enemy airborne assault, the Arctic infantry will quickly move to the threatened direction and take battle on the move.
In December 2020, at the final board, the Minister of Defense announced the formation of the first regiment in the region. True, he did not disclose his place of deployment. Currently, on several resources dedicated to finding a job, you can find advertisements for the recruitment of contract military personnel for service in Chukotka. In particular, in the position of scout snipers.
- The division will be able to cover air defense facilities located in the region. But the main thing is to ensure navigation along the Northern Sea Route, ”military expert Viktor Murakhovsky told Izvestia. - During the Vostok-2018 exercise, the passage of some ships of the Northern Fleet to the Pacific Ocean along this route was practiced. This is a major strategic task for the Russian fleet, which is divided into four groupings. In Chukotka, it is important to have a unit that is capable of providing both defense and cover for this direction. Of course, in cooperation with the Aerospace Forces.
After the creation of a division in Chukotka, navigation along the Northern Sea Route will become safer, ex-chief of the main staff of the Russian Navy, Admiral Valentin Selivanov, told Izvestia.
“A division is a powerful tactical formation capable of acting independently,” the admiral explained. - She can solve different problems. As you know, foreign ships, let alone warships, cannot sail along the Northern Sea Route without the permission of Russia. If a ship violates this rule, our servicemen will be able to board it from helicopters or boats and conduct an inspection. And given the powerful equipment capable of working in snowy conditions, the troops can also carry out humanitarian operations. For example, to save people in case of emergency - both on land and near the coast.
In Chukotka in recent decades, there were no serious ground forces. From the 1980s to the mid-1990s, the 99th Motorized Rifle Division served there. It was staffed according to the reduced staff and had a stripped-down structure: it did not have a set of artillery and air defense systems, and instead of battalions of combat and logistical support, there were companies. In addition, even the powerful tracked vehicles of motorized riflemen are unable to work in the climatic conditions of Chukotka for most of the year.
“The first attempts to create a ground grouping in Chukotka were at the beginning of the Cold War,” military expert Vasily Kashin told Izvestia. - Then there were plans to deploy the 14th Army, which had distinguished itself in the Great Patriotic War. Ideas were developed for the transfer of troops through the Bering Strait. As a result, they were abandoned, but the infrastructure began to be built.
Earlier, Izvestia reported that a coastal defense division would also be created in the Kaliningrad region. It will be based on a regiment formed on the basis of the 79th motorized rifle brigade. He will receive part of the old "brigade" battalions and some support units. It is possible that the 7th separate guards motorized rifle regiment, located in Kaliningrad, will become the second regiment that will become part of the division.
Return to Chukotka
Over the past five years, Chukotka has once again become the center of military activity in the north-east of the country. The reconstruction of the Ugolny airfield in Anadyr, carried out in the interests of the Ministry of Defense, made it possible to receive all types of aircraft and helicopters. They not only provide border protection, but are also involved in the supply of even more distant garrisons.
In the 2000s, Ugolny was only occasionally used as an advanced operational airfield for combat aviation. But in 2017, long-range Tu-22M3 bombers landed on it for the first time in history. And from next year, the most powerful strategic missile carriers Tu-160 began to fly there regularly. To carry out educational tasks, they relocate there from the European part of the country, performing non-stop flights with a length of about 7 thousand km.
In December last year, the Ministry of Defense announced the beginning of permanent combat duty in Anadyr of naval fighter-interceptors MiG-31BM from the air regiment in Kamchatka. For several years now, a subdivision of UAVs with Orlan-10 and Forpost vehicles has been on duty at Ugolny. They allow monitoring not only the peninsula, but also its coastal waters.
For the fifth year already, a combined detachment of army aviation has been in Kamchatka. Transport Mi-8 and Mi-26 help to supply units at Cape Schmidt and Wrangel Island. In its composition, in practice, they tested the newest Arctic modification Mi-8AMTSh-VA, created specifically for operation in the most difficult conditions of the Far North.
In recent years, Russia has been actively strengthening the coastal forces of the fleet. The Marine Corps is being reformed and transformed into a rapid reaction force capable of operating around the world. Coastal missile and artillery troops are re-equipping from the outdated Redut and Rubezh complexes to the newest Bastion and Ball. In addition, modern divisions are being created, and coastal missile regiments are being transformed into full-fledged brigades.