"Russia’s Arms Buildup In Barents Sea Creating Toxic Legacy"

"Indigenous people and experts say Moscow’s military push and increased shipping and mining will destroy Arctic environment"

"The Barents Sea port of Severomorsk is the base of the Russian navy’s Northern Fleet and, since 2014 – when Russia first invaded eastern Ukraine – it has become the main administrative hub for all of Russia’s Arctic military activities.

As the war in Ukraine grinds on, Russia is not so quietly expanding its military activities in this region, too. In the past six years, Russia has built 475 military sites along its northern border. The Kola peninsula and the archipelagos of the Barents Sea have seen dozens of new airstrips, bunkers and bases.

But while the region has long been one of Russia’s most important commercial and military hubs, the deep waters of the Barents Sea are among the most biodiverse of any in the Arctic region, home to puffins, dolphins, seals, and rare bowhead whales, as well as being home to some of the world’s biggest fish populations. To its southern side, on the Kola peninsula, herds of wild reindeer can still be found and its eastern rivers, free from hydroelectric dams, are among the few remaining spawning grounds for Atlantic salmon."

John Last reports for the Guardian July 24, 2023.

Source: Guardian, 07/31/2023