MOSCOW, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- The Russian military is beefing up its presence in the arctic as nations begin to eye potentially plentiful natural resources in the region, officials said.
Russian military officials told RIA Novosti the move comes after an order from Russian President Vladimir Putin to increase logistical and transportation infrastructure in the region. The military will reopen several air strips and ports on islands mothballed in the years after the fall of the Soviet Union. The military also plans construction of an early warning missile radar in the Arctic.
"The new command will comprise the Northern Fleet, arctic warfare brigades, air force and air defense units as well as additional administrative structures," the unidentified source in Russia's General Staff told RIA Novosti Monday.
There have been an increased number of territorial disputes between the United States, Canada, Russia and other northern countries over drilling rights recently and Russia said it plans to defend its rightful territory at the United Nations.