- You pee in my backyard, I’ll pee on your front lawn.
- Symmetrical Response: Russia Will Get Division of Troops 85 KM Off US Border
Last week, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu confirmed that the Russian military plans to establish a coastal defense division in Chukotka, eastern Russia by 2018. Respected independent defense analyst Sergei Ishchenko comments on the news, and on how it may ultimately affect the security situation in the region.
Speaking at a Defense Ministry meeting on Tuesday, Shoigu confirmed that “there are plans to form a coastal defense division in 2018 on the Chukotka operational direction.” The minister added that this decision was actually made in July 2015, and is part of a plan to establish a unified system of coastal defense stretching from the Arctic in the north to the Primorye Territory in the south.
The system, according to Shoigu, is intended “to ensure control of the closed sea zones of the Kuril Islands and the Bering Strait, cover the routes of Pacific Fleet forces’ deployment in the Far Eastern and Northern sea zones, and increase the combat viability of naval strategic nuclear forces” operating in the area. In other words, the new division will help ensure the defense of Russia’s sparsely populated eastern coast.
Commenting on the defense minister’s announcement in an analysis for the independent online newspaper Svobodnaya Pressa, defense analyst Sergei Ishchenko pointed out that so far, no other details have been provided on this future military force. “However, it’s obvious that this is not just ordinary news, not least because what we’re talking about is the creation of a serious military force just a stone’s throw away from the United States: only the Bering Strait will separate the Russian coastal defense division from Alaska. At its narrowest point, that’s only 86 km away. Therefore, it’s worth taking a closer look at this announcement.”