I have abridged the following. (r.a. note)
EXPRESS UK By Tom Batchelor Posted Thurs., Oct.22, 2015
VLADIMIR PUTIN’S imperialist ambitions were laid bare today with an announcement that the secretive Russian war machine is planning to build three new military bases in the Arctic – just 300 miles from the US mainland.
Moscow also revealed blueprints for a new army base on the disputed Kurile islands – some of which are situated less than 20 miles from Japan.
Mr Putin is already flexing his military muscles in Syria with air and sea bases and a bombing campaign that has decimated ISIS strongholds. Russian expansionism has also seen the Crimean peninsula invaded and annexed.
But, in a significant ramping up of Russia’s military reach, Mr Putin hopes to taunt US and Japanese officials with outposts in the Arctic and Pacific.
The plans mean Moscow will have troops, warplanes and military vehicles stationed in all four corners of the Asian continent.
“This is a really large base that was never seen during the Soviet times, and it has modern equipment, all of the needed equipment for these boundaries”, stated Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.
It will be seen by both Washington and Beijing as a direct challenge to military supremacy in the region.
In the Pacific, a new Russian base on the Kurile islands is likely to worsen already frayed relations with Tokyo which lays claim to the Southern Kuriles, known in Japan as the Northern Territories.
Russia seized the islands from Japan at the end of World War Two and the dispute is so acrimonious that Moscow and Tokyo have still not signed a formal peace treaty after the war.
In the Arctic, Russia is building or plans to build a series of new military bases on Wrangel Island, Kotelny Island and at Cape Schmidt, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu confirmed.
He said Russia planned to “completely finish the creation and arming of the entire Arctic grouping” by 2018.
Mr Shoigu added: “We’re not hiding this from anyone, we have practically finished creating the base in the Novosibirsk Archipelago, on the island of Kotelny.
“This is a really large base that was never seen during the Soviet times, and it has modern equipment, all of the needed equipment for these boundaries.”
Mr Putin has promised not to militarise the Arctic, but officials have made it clear that Russia will take steps to ensure it remains well defended in the region.
But crucially, it is just 320 miles from Point Hope in Alaska.