Russian marines stage an exercise in re-capturing an Arctic port

The exercise simulated freeing the Northern Sea Route port of Dudinka from an occupying force.

By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer - September 10, 2021

As Russia this week launched the huge Zapad-21 exercise, a force from the Northern Fleet engaged in training in the far northern Taymyr Peninsula.

In a carefully staged show, marines attacked the seaport of Dudinka, the town that is a crucial logistical hub for mining and metallurgy company Nornickel.

The soldiers attacked from the sea, air and land in what the Northern Fleet commanders say is the first ever exercise on how to liberate a seaport from enemy forces. Involved were Ka-27 helicopters, speedboats, ATVs. Gun fire was provided from the nearby waters of the Yenisey River by the Severomorsk, a Navy destroyer.

Video footage provided by the Northern Fleet show marines tiptoeing around the port area before attacking their targets.

The training is part of a bigger exercise that will unfold on several sites along the Russian Arctic coast. According to the Northern Fleet press service, about 8,000 troops are taking part in the training that will take place on shooting ranges in the Kola Peninsula, as well as in the Barents Sea, Kara Sea and Laptev Sea.

Russian forces deployed in the bases at Franz Josef Land and the New Siberian Islands will take part and the drills also include training on the protection of communications systems along the Northern Sea Route, according to the Navy.

Involved will be about 800 various kinds of military vehicles and tanks, 120 air force units and up to 50 different vessels.

The drills can be seen as part of the Zapad-21, the Russian-Belarus military exercise that officially started on September 10. The drills include about 200,000 soldiers, and is believed to be the largest military exercise in Europe in nearly 40 years.