Russian military plans permanent base in Arctic Ocean

The Russian military says it has started building a permanent base on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean.

The star-shaped complex will include two administrative buildings and living accommodations, Interfax news agency quoted Eastern Military District spokesman Alexander Gordeev as saying.

Moscow has increased its presence in the Arctic in recent years, Chinese news site Xinhua reported. The Foreign Ministry said at the beginning of this year that Russia was finalizing its revised application for expanding its Arctic exclusive economic zone.

In early August, Russian Airborne Troops commander Vladimir Shamanov said Russia's Arctic presence was aimed at providing "reliable protection of national interests."

Last December, Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed never to "surrender" his country's Arctic area and ordered the defense ministry to take all necessary steps to protect Russia's security and national interests in the region.

The personnel stationed at the island’s facility will be able to carry out tasks without having to venture outdoors in the Arctic's extreme weather conditions, Gordeev said.

Wrangel Island is in far northeastern Russia, in the Arctic Ocean, separating the East Siberian Sea and the Chukchi Sea, according to an entry on the Encyclopedia Brittanica website.

It’s one of the world’s least visited, most restricted nature reserves, that can only be reached by helicopter during winter or by icebreaker boats during the summer season, National Geographic reported.

The 2,900-square-mile island remains one of Russia’s coldest, remotest pieces of protected wilderness. Despite its frigid temperatures, it has a vibrant wild life, including the world’s largest denning ground for polar bears.