Russia plans new Arctic naval fleet as Putin celebrates his 69th birthday by moving to ensure further stranglehold on Europe’s gas supplies

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Russia has announced plans to set up a new Arctic naval fleet in a major military expansion as President Vladimir Putin today marked his 69th birthday.

The new fleet will help Russia tighten its stranglehold on Europe’s gas supplies by securing future energy reserves in the polar region and giving Russia full control of the so-called Northern Sea Route for commercial shipping.

It comes after Putin was accused of deliberately withholding gas supplies and turning energy ‘into a weapon’ as leverage with the EU.

He wants the bloc to sign off on his new Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, run by state energy company Gazprom, that bypasses Ukraine – and has hinted he will pump more gas into Europe if the EU approves the controversial plan.

The veiled threats have sent gas prices soaring across the continent as the cold winter approaches and added fuel to claims Moscow is deliberately withholding supplies.

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Source: Daily Mail