Earlier, Russian Northern Fleet Commander Nikolai Evmenov warned that the potential for conflict between Russia and the NATO alliance was growing as powers wrangle for control over resources and shipping lanes in the Arctic region.
The US could deploy warships to the Arctic this summer as shipping lanes cleared from ice open up and become navigable, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer has indicated.
“This summer, [chief of naval operations John Richardson] and I have talked about having some ships make the transit in the Arctic. It’s going to be a multi-service task – I think you’ll see the Coast Guard involved,” Spencer said, speaking at an event at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
No concrete plans have been set at this stage, according to the admiral. “We’re just fleshing it out right now. But what is the purpose of that? We have to learn what it’s like to operate in that environment,” he said.
The US regularly deploys submarines and Navy patrol aircraft to the Arctic, but has generally limited the deployment of warships, many of which are not equipped with sufficient de-icing capabilities. However, last October, a US carrier group led by the USS Harry S. Truman became the first US aircraft carrier to cross the Arctic Circle since the Cold War as it joined the massive NATO Trident Juncture drills in Norway.
The Navy is also exploring an expanded permanent presence in the region, particularly…