On Tuesday, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin oversaw the launch of a nuclear-powered icebreaker as the country strives to develop the Arctic and also desires new energy markets amid the sanctions over Ukraine.
Addressing via video link a Saint Petersburg ceremony for the launch of the Yakutia icebreaker, Putin mentioned that such vessels are of “strategic” importance for the country. In addition to floating out the Yakutia from Russia, authorities symbolically raised a flag on yet another nuclear-powered icebreaker dubbed the Ural.
The Yakutia and Ural are part of a fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers meant to establish Moscow’s dominance in the melting Arctic.
Video Credits: The Telegraph / YouTube
The Kremlin chief reportedly vowed to develop the country’s nuclear fleet despite ongoing difficulties in Russia’s production and economy about Western sanctions regarding Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.
He said that this should be achieved with domestic equipment and components. Putin declared that the Ural is also expected to be operational in December 2022, while the Yakutia will join the fleet by late 2024.
The vessels are designed to resist extreme weather conditions in the Far North, measure 173 meters in length, and can smash through ice that measures 2.8 meters in thickness.
The Russian leader mentioned that the ships were part of Moscow’s efforts to consolidate Russia’s status as a great Arctic power.
He again stressed the need to develop the so-called Northern Sea Route that permits ships to reach ports in Asia up to 15 days faster than via the conventional Suez Canal.
Putin stated that this vital corridor would ultimately permit Russia to realize its export capability and make way for an advanced logistics route to South-East Asia. Moscow, for years, has heavily invested in the channel.
References: Dawn, Arab News