March 6 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a 15-year plan to develop Russia's Arctic region, which will involve upgrading infrastructure and new military deployments.
The Kremlin said Putin signed the 17-page executive order, titled "Principles of Russian Federation State Policy in the Arctic to 2035," on Thursday.
The plan calls for private investment in Arctic energy projects, a population shift into the area via tens of thousands of new jobs and road developments. It also plans upgrades to Russian surveillance systems and construction of new military infrastructure. There is no mention of the plan's cost.
The status of Russia's mineral-rich Arctic area was elevated last year when an agency in charge of Far East development took charge of similar improvements. The Arctic Ocean is increasingly ice-free due to climate change and shipping natural gas and minerals through the Northern Sea route is now more attainable.
"The framework is a document of strategic planning ... for the purpose of protecting national interests of the Russian Federation in the Arctic," the order states.
Russia has invested heavily in the Arctic for years, as new shipping lanes have opened and more mineral deposits have been discovered.