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Putin plans to build a rail link in the Arctic

Russian President Vladimir Putin (Photo by Alexey VITVITSKY / various sources / AFP)

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed his government to submit proposals to build a rail link to the Barents Sea coast as Moscow races to develop the Arctic.

Putin has made Russia’s Arctic region a strategic priority and ordered massive investments in military infrastructure and mining.

Putin has ordered Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin to “submit proposals for the creation of a railway to the Barents Sea”, the Kremlin announced on Friday. The deadline for submitting proposals is May 10, the Kremlin added, without giving further details.

The end point of the railway is expected to be the Indiga settlement in the Arctic Nenets region, where Russia hopes to start building a year-round port in the next few years.

In 2018, Finland and Norway said they would jointly explore the construction of an Arctic rail link from northern Finland to the Barents Sea coast.

The development of the Northern Sea Route is closely tied to Russia’s Arctic push, and Moscow has funneled large sums into a fleet of ice-class icebreakers and tankers.

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