The U.S. Naval War College has opened a new institute to zero in on Russia's approach to maritime issues as that country continues to assert itself in Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere.

The college in Newport, Rhode Island, opened the new Russia Maritime Studies Institute this week.

Faculty and students will study Russian decision-making on maritime issues, the legal and trade implications of the melting sea ice in the Arctic and questions about deterrence, among other topics.

Institute Director Michael Petersen says the resurgence of the Russian military has enabled Russia to become more "adventuresome" in its foreign policy.

He says the research will help the Navy make smarter decisions when responding.