RUSSIAN MILITARY FORMING DRONE SQUADRON FOR ARCTIC RECONNAISANCE (Source ITAR TASS) Expanding Russia’s presence in the Arctic is one of the key tasks the country’s authorities. Next spring the Russian government plans to file a request at the United Nations for expanding the borders of its continental shelf. If sustained, the request will increase Russia’s reserves of explored hydrocarbons by five billion tons of equivalent fuel. The formation of the Arctic military command is part of Russia’s ongoing extensive program to build up military presence in the Arctic. Last March, President Vladimir Putin said that the armed forces’ training and development efforts should incorporate measures to increase the combat component of the Arctic group. The Defense Ministry has since made several steps along these lines. Russia’s Defence Ministry is going to build 13 airdromes and 10 radars in the Arctic. Russia announced it was recreating its military base on the Novosibirsk Islands in the Laptev Sea. An airfield was opened on Kotelny, the largest island of the archipelago. Another military airport, Rogachyovo, commissioned on the southern island of the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago, is capable of accommodating fighter jets.