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Putin calls for launch of regular cargo shipments via northern sea route next year

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President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Russia should start regular container shipments via the Northern Sea Route across its northern flank from Vladivostok to St Petersburg next year.

Russia is investing in infrastructure to develop the Northern Sea Route and wants it to become a major shipping lane as the Arctic warms at a faster rate that the rest of the world.

Putin was speaking at an economic forum in Vladivostok in Russia’s far east.

He added that Russia will not restrict other countries using the Northern Sea Route across its northern flank.

The United States has previously accused Russia of demanding that foreign vessels request permissions to pass in the Arctic region and requiring Russian maritime pilots to board the ships, while threatening to use force against vessels failing to comply. 

Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin. EPA-EFE/ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/SPUTNIK/KREMLIN POOL