Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has provided insights into a training ramp-up and strengthening of its Arctic defences, during a recently held Russian Defence Ministry Board session.

Shoigu stated that the Russian armed forces had implemented their training plan for 2020, ahead of schedule with 3,797 test events completed. Half of these tests involving the use of weapons. The Russian Navy has also completed live firings on all types of weapons in coordination with Russian long-range aviation, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) stated in a release.

More than 19,000 Russian military personnel and approximately 2,000 pieces of military equipment also took part in a large-scale exercise held this summer at the Tsugol training ground. Recruitment into the armed forces is also being increased. "Since the beginning of the year, about eleven thousand people have been selected. The recruitment plan is 100% complete," Shoigu stated.

Russia continues to modernise its armed forces and according to Shoigu, by the end of the year the Eastern Military District will receive over five hundred units of new and modernized equipment; resulting in the re-equipping of 14 formations. Two anti-aircraft missile regiments are to receive S-400 Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) systems, while Buk-M1-2 SAM systems will equip two anti-aircraft missile battalions.

"We are actively developing the Northern Fleet to strengthen the state's defence capability and ensure Russia's national interests in the Arctic. More than 20 significant organizational and staff activities are planned this year, including the formation of crews entering the combat composition of the fleet of surface ships and submarines," said Shoigu on developments in the Arctic.

"The Northern Fleet is equipped with modern military equipment adapted for use in the harsh Arctic conditions. This year he (SIC) will receive 179 weapons. The fleet has already been supplemented by the Knyaz Vladimir nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine and the Admiral Kasatonov frigate, the Akademik Pashin sea tanker and the Nikolay Skosyrev hydrographic vessel," Shoigu stated.

Russia continues to improve the infrastructure of its Arctic bases with Shoigu stating that construction was underway for the Nagurskaya and Temp airfields and newly formed units of the 3rd Air Defence Division which are receiving block-modular camps and weapons storage facilities. The Russian Navy is also reconstructing mooring fronts for the Borei-A Class ballistic missile submarine (SSBN).