Russia stages fresh military drills in the Arctic
Tensions between the West and Russia have led both sides to beef up their militaries in the remote High North, an area believed to be rich in natural resources and where melting ice has opened up new shipping routes.
On Monday, the defence ministry announced the beginning of command exercises by the Northern Fleet that would continue over "several days".
The exercises include tests of Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft systems, in-flight refuelling of a MiG-31 fighter jet and jamming the controls of drones simulating an attack.
Last Friday, the drills saw three nuclear-powered submarines break ice and surface simultaneously and also featured a nuclear submarine firing a torpedo from beneath the ice.
Retired Russian admiral Viktor Kravchenko told the Interfax news agency that the exercises were to send a "signal to our foreign friends -- the Americans".
Russia is one of five Arctic nations staking their claims in the region, and Moscow has beefed up its military presence there, reopening and modernising several bases and airfields abandoned since the end of the Soviet era.
Moscow has built a military base on the remote Kotelny Island, part of the New Siberian Islands in the eastern Arctic, and there are other installations including on the Franz-Joseph Land archipelago.
Russia has also deployed its state-of-the-art S-400 air defence systems there.
The United States in February sent strategic bombers to train in Norway as part of Western efforts to bolster its military presence in the region.
For the first time since the 1980s, the US Navy deployed an aircraft carrier in the Norwegian Sea in 2018, and then several other vessels in Russia's economic zone in the Barents Sea the following year.