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Russian fleet starts Arctic mission

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A detachment of warships and support vessels of the Russian Northern Fleet left their main base Wednesday and headed for the eastern Arctic on a safety mission, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The detachment consists of a large anti-submarine ship, two large amphibious assault ships, a mine sweeper, an icebreaker, a tanker, a rescue tug and a crane ship, the ministry said in a press release.

The group will travel along the Northern Sea Route, most of which is currently ice-free. The main goal of the long-distance mission is to check the safety of maritime navigation and other marine economic activities in the Arctic.

During the mission, sailors will be trained to perform search and rescue operations and provide assistance to civil ships suffering disasters.

This is the seventh large-scale mission of the Northern Fleet in the Arctic since 2012, when its marines for the first time in the history of the Russian Navy landed on a distant Arctic island.

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