The Russian Defense Ministry, at the direction of President Vladimir Putin, is planning to build a military research and testing center in the Arctic, Russian state-owned media outlet Sputnik reported on Friday.

The research center will be used for developing weapons and military logistics designed for the Arctic region, according to Lt. Gen. Igor Makushev, head of the Military-Scientific Committee of the Russian Armed Forces.

“On the orders of the president [Vladimir Putin], and in the framework of the development of the Arctic zone, it is planned to establish in 2017 an Arctic research and testing scientific center with branches in Arkhangelsk, Priozersk and St. Petersburg,” Makushev said.

Over the last decade, there has been a land grab in the Arctic, where global warming is melting polar ice and revealing an abundance of natural resources, including an estimated 22% of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas reserves.

Russia, the US, Canada, Norway, and other nations are all trying to get a piece of it. But the commandant of the US Coast Guard, Adm. Paul Zukunft, warned earlier this month that Russia has the upper hand.


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Featured image courtesy of Reuters