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December 10, 2013
Russian President Vladimir Putin
From Thomas Grove, Reuters:  President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia's military to increase its focus on the Arctic and finish plans by the end of the year to upgrade military bases in the resource-rich region where world powers jostle for control.

Speaking to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Putin praised the military's work in the Arctic, where Canada said on Monday it was claiming the North Pole as part of an broader claim on the region. . . .

"I request that you pay special attention to the deployment of infrastructure and military units in the Arctic," Putin said, speaking at a Defense Ministry board meeting.

"By the end of the year it is planned - and I expect it will be done ... the renewal of the Tiksi airfield and completion of construction work on the Severomorsk-1 airfield," he said in televised comments.

Russia has already completed work on renovating an airfield on the Novosibirsk Islands, Putin said, which was abandoned in 1993. Earlier this year Moscow sent 10 warships and four icebreakers to the islands in a show of force.

From RIA Novosti:  Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday that a combined-arms force will be deployed in the Arctic in 2014 to protect the country's interests in the region.

As part of the ambitious program, the Russian military is planning to reopen airfields and ports on the New Siberian Islands and the Franz Josef Land archipelago that were mothballed in 1993.

Shoigu said that at least seven mothballed military airfields on the continental part of the Arctic Circle will also be restored.

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