Russia is making its boldest move yet. It plans to mobilize forces to garrison themselves just 85 kilometers from the U.S. border in the Arctic region.
The move is said to be part of Russia’s plans to “form a coastal defense division,” which would see Russian forces deployed near the U.S. border of Alaska. They are set to be stationed at the Kuril Islands, a territory Russia and Japan are currently disputing over.
According to Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu, the defense system is help Russia gain control of “closed sea zones” in both the Kuril Islands and Bering Strait. At the same time, the deployment would allow Russian forces to “cover the routes of Pacific Fleet forces” deployed in the Far Eastern and Northern sea zones.
Moreover, having the defense division in place would allow Russia to “increase the combat viability of naval strategic nuclear forces.”
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It must be noted that this is the first time Russia is mounting a coastal defense division. According to a report from Sputnik, military analyst have noted that because of this, there is no way to anticipate how Russia will staff the said division or how it will appear.
Russian military analyst Sergei Ishchenko also pointed out that Russia may opt to deploy the Iskander mobile short range ballistic missile system, along with its new division in the area. In this case, he Ishchenko, “The U.S. F-22s may no longer have time to intercept the Russian bombers, while U.S. missile warning stations could unexpectedly go dark.”
According to a report from the Washington Times, Russia plans to have its coastal defense division set up and deployed by 2018. At the moment, it is unclear how the U.S. and NATO plan to respond to Russia’s new tactic.