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US Military Wants New Billion-Dollar Icebreaker Against Russia in Arctic

Sputnik News

17:58 20.01.2016(updated 18:05 20.01.2016)

US officials and commanders in the Coast Guard and Naval forces have pushed for an expansion of the US military presence in the Arctic.

The US Coast Guard and two US Senators have called for the construction of a new billion-dollar icebreaker ship to counter Russia in the Arctic, CNN reported on Monday.

The US operates two icebreakers in the Arctic, but its military claims that Russia's increased presence in the area is cause for more equipment. US commanders claim that Russia seeks to establish its presence in the area through its military.

In fact, Russia's border-related claims in the area are handled through the UN committee on maritime borders.

'Russia is watching what China does in the East China Sea with the 'nine-dash line' and is working to define what the continental shelf looks like, to establish a claim and declare its sovereignty,' commander of US Naval Forces Europe Admiral Mark Ferguson told CNN.

The nine-dash line is a term for China's claim in the South China Sea, although the US Naval Commander apparently confused it with the East China Sea, where China, Japan and South Korea are involved in an unrelated territorial dispute.

The statements, however, go directly against those made by Vice Commandant of the US Coast Guard Vice Adm. Charles Michel's statement at an Arctic cooperation round table on January 15. Michel noted that the US Coast Guard and Russia have continued cooperation despite recent political disagreements.

'Relations between the US Coast Guard and Russian partners are a model of international cooperation. Together we are much more efficient than by ourselves,' Michel was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying in comments translated into Russian.

Russia has been paying more attention to the Arctic in its national security strategy, as Russia has considerable economic interests and a largely unsecured border in the area. The Deputy Secretary of Russia's Security Council confirmed on Monday that Russia's national defense strategy includes the Arctic.


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