Russia right now is actively militarizing the Arctic in preparations for a major conflict. The reasons for this largely have to do with resources, but it is a major project. The US and NATO has been doing the same thing, albeit quietly, in the northernmost regions near Norway and Finland. Now in a first since Soviet times, CNBC reports that the US is publicly sending warships to the Barents Sea, which is in the Arctic and sits between Norwegian territories and Russian territories.
Four U.S. Navy ships on Monday entered the Barents Sea, located off of Russia’s northwestern Arctic coast — the first time U.S. warships have entered the area since the 1980s — according to a statement Monday from the U.S. Navy’s 6th fleet.
Though international waters, the Barents Sea is Russia’s naval backyard. Russia’s Northern Fleet, the heart of the Russian Navy, is anchored in Severomorsk — tucked in a bay off the Barents Sea.
The Navy said it notified the Russian Ministry of Defense on Friday of its intention to send ships into the Barents. Russia’s military said in a statement Monday that “Northern Fleet assets are monitoring the activities of the NATO strike group.”
Military tensions between the U.S. and Russia remain high six years after Russia’s annexation of Crimea from neighboring Ukraine. Even amid the COVID-19 epidemic, military messaging between the two sides has continued. (source)