Russian commandos performed a unique exercise featuring a number of special operatives jumping out of a plane over the Arctic at 33,000 feet altitude.
The video, released by the Russian Defense Ministry on April 25, 2020, shows the commandos landing from the plane on the frosted surface of the Arctic. The three-day exercise took place on an island in Russia’s Franz Josef Land archipelago called Alexandra Land, which sits on the Arctic Ocean well above the Arctic Circle. Russian officials claim it was the first exercise of its kind successfully completed, The Drive reported.
“Today, for the first time in world history, we conducted a group landing of personnel with special parachute systems in Arctic conditions from a height of 10,000 meters [~32,808 feet] using oxygen equipment followed by combat training missions.” said Russian Deputy Defense Minister Lieutenant General Yanus-Bek Yevkurov, who was on hand of the exercise. “Nobody has done such a thing before us.”
Russian forces from the military’s Special Operations Forces Command, the Federal Security Service’s Special Purpose Center, and the Russian Army paratroopers participated in the exercise. Russian special operations forces are referred to collectively as “spetsnaz.”
The exercise included a practice raid, in which snowmobiles towed special operators and paratroopers on sleds toward the targeted location at full speed.
In a series of tweets showing the exercise, Russian personnel can be seen shooting blanks in all directions as they get close to the objective, including straight up in the air.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) April 26, 2020
DT-30PM heavy tracked transport vehicles can also be seen in the footage. DT-30PMs are specifically designed for Arctic operations and other rugged terrains. As the Arctic’s strategic importance continues to rise for Russia, it has expanded its arsenal to help navigate the harsh landscape.
Russia has also obtained specialized surface-to-air missile systems on transports designed with systems to help drive its forces through the Arctic.
One of Russia’s latest vessels revealed in fall 2019 is the Ivan Papanin, an 18.7 million-pound ship that can sail through ice almost five feet thick. The Russian Navy claimed the ship, named after a prominent Soviet explorer, can be used as a tugboat, patrol, icebreaker, and a scientific vessel.
“We wanted to create a ship that would ensure the safety of our fleet in the Arctic. At the same time, we wanted the ship to carry out scientific research in the Arctic ice and, of course, for it to reliably ensure the safety of our national interests there,” said Viktor Cherkov, an admiral at the state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation responsible for the ship’s construction, according to Tass news agency.
Despite Russia’s expansion into the Arctic region, Vladimir Barbin, Russia’s ambassador to Denmark, accused the United States on April 27 of pursuing a “policy of confrontation” in the Arctic region in a bid to “achieve dominance.”