More than 50 Russian soldiers parachuted onto drifting Arctic ice near the North Pole last week in a first-ever training exercise, Russia Beyond The Headlines reports.
The Russian paratroopers parachuted along with airdropped supplies from an Ilyushin-76 military transport aircraft at 89 degrees North latitude Tuesday, April 8. In collaboration with the Expedition Center of the Russian Geographic Society, the paratroopers will build a camp and train in the rescue of polar expeditions.
Airborne Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Yevgney Meshkov said the drop proceeded without accidents and that soldiers are equipped with knives and hunting guns to guard against wild animals.
The Russian military’s video captured the jump from multiple angles, including from the first-person perspective of one soldier.
Although it cannot be verified from the video, the RT news network reports the Russians planted a Crimean flag upon their landing, coming weeks after Russia annexed that region from Ukraine. “We could not ignore to bring the flag of the Russian city of Sevastopol to such a place,” said one of the Russians, reported by RT.
You can watch the full video from the Russian Ministry of Defence below.
The mission is not the first time Russian soldiers have parachuted into the Arctic. Just last month, 350 paratroopers landed on a northern Siberian island to help establish a military base there protecting nearby oil and gas resources. That is part of a greater Russian military presence in the Arctic since 2013, intended to protect Russia’s national interests in that region, according to President Vladimir Putin.
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