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Russian military to establish permanent base in Arctic

The Russian military said Monday that it has started building a permanent base on the Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean.

The facility, to be constructed in two months, will include two administrative buildings as well as accommodation, Interfax news agency quoted Eastern Military District spokesman Alexander Gordeev as saying.

The star-shaped complex will enable the personnel stationed there to carry out tasks without getting outdoors in the Arctic's harsh environment, he added.

In recent years, Moscow has increased its presence in the Arctic. The Foreign Ministry said at the beginning of this year that Russia was finalizing its revised application for expanding its Arctic exclusive economic zone.

In early August, Russian Airborne Troops commander Vladimir Shamanov said Russia's Arctic presence was aimed at providing "reliable protection of national interests."

Last December, Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed never to "surrender" his country's Arctic area and ordered the defense ministry to take every step necessary to protect Russia's security and national interests in the region.

[Source: Xinhua, Moscow, 08Sep14]

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