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Russia launches new icebreaker to expand Arctic shipment

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends via video link a ceremony to launch the Yakutia nuclear-powered icebreaker and to raise the national flag on the Ural nuclear-powered icebreaker on Nov 22, 2022. (KREMLIN PHOTO VIA XINHUA)

MOSCOW – Russia launched its latest nuclear-powered icebreaker Yakutia on Tuesday in a persistent bid to better use the Arctic shipping route leading to the Far East.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attended via video link a ceremony held in the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg to launch the Yakutia and to raise the national flag on another nuclear-powered icebreaker Ural.

Vessels of such a high ice class are of strategic importance to us. They are needed to study and explore the Arctic, ensure safe and sustainable navigation in this region, and increase traffic along the Northern Sea Route.

Vladimir Putin, Russian president

"Vessels of such a high ice class are of strategic importance to us. They are needed to study and explore the Arctic, ensure safe and sustainable navigation in this region, and increase traffic along the Northern Sea Route," Putin said.

The development of the Arctic transport corridor will help Russia unlock its export potential and establish efficient logistics routes, he said, adding that Russia will continue to expand its icebreaker fleet with domestic production capacities, equipment and components.

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The Yakutia and the Ural are the fourth and third vessels of Type-22220. According to the Kremlin, Type-22220 ships are the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world with a main task to ensure year-round navigation in the Arctic.

The first two vessels, the Arktika and the Sibir, have already entered service. The Ural will start to perform tasks as early as this December and the Yakutia must be commissioned by the end of 2024, Putin said.

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The fifth ship, the Chukotka, is scheduled for commissioning in 2026 and the construction of the Rossiya "super-powerful" icebreaker should be completed in 2027, he added.