The Safe Arctic 2023 experimental research exercises took place in nine regions of Russia’s Arctic zone on 6-7 April. The exercises were held as part of Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021-2023. They were organized and coordinated by the Russian Ministry for Civil Defence, Emergency Situations, and the Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters (EMERCOM) with the support of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and the Arctic. The Roscongress Foundation manages the events of the chairmanship.
Safe Arctic 2023 Exercise Participants Complete over 100 Experimental Research Tasks
The group from the Unified State System of Prevention and Response to Emergencies included more than 3,500 specialists and 650 units of equipment during the exercises. Over two days of practical training, the rescuers completed 110 experimental research tasks, and also undertook practical actions to provide assistance from the air, on water, underground, and on land. Representatives of 16 foreign states, including Saudi Arabia, Serbia, and Iran, observed the actions of the Russian rescuers. Representatives of more than 20 federal executive bodies, ten businesses, and two state corporations took part in the experimental research exercises.
“We must be ready to respond quickly to any threats and challenges that may arise in this region. During the exercises on the territory of nine regions, forces from various ministries, agencies, state corporations, and organizations that are part of the system [of the Unified State System of Prevention and Response to Emergencies] will practice 16 scenarios based on the most typical risks for Russia’s Arctic region,” said EMERCOM Minister Alexander Kurenkov, who personally supervised the exercises.
Kurenkov said the exercises will enable the EMERCOM to objectively assess the readiness of manpower and resources to act in extreme climates and difficult terrain and more effectively organize further work to ensure security in the Arctic.
The business part of the exercise programme included the Research and Training Conference ‘Prevention and Elimination of Emergencies in the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation‘, during which experts discussed how to simulate and assess the risk of emergencies in the Far North, prevent and minimize the consequences of accidents, and compensate for damages in the Arctic, among other topics. In addition, during roundtables, experts spoke about how to draft legislation to prevent and eliminate emergencies in the northern latitudes and organize interagency scientific research to ensure comprehensive security in the Russian Arctic.
“I would like to particularly note the high level of professionalism, skill, and coordination of the actions of the Russian rescuers, whose work provides convincing evidence of the Russian Federation’s readiness to responsibly fulfil its international obligations. Today’s exercises and subsequent ones, which aim to prevent and eliminate emergencies, with the direct involvement and coordinating role of the Russian EMERCOM, will continue to strengthen the potential for prevention and response both in the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation and in the Arctic as a whole,” Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chair of the Arctic Senior Officials Nikolay Korchunov said.
In the run-up to the exercises, from 27 March to 7 April, EMERCOM carried out a research expedition in the Arctic to practice the latest rescue methods in the event of possible accidents and conduct comparative tests of Russian-made models of all-terrain vehicles, equipment, gear, and property that are designed to ensure safety in the Arctic. Over 12 days, the 76 participants covered more than 1,600 kilometres across three Russian regions – the Nenets Autonomous District, the Komi Republic, and the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District. In addition, the Safe Arctic 2023 exercises were accompanied by Safety Week at kindergartens, schools, as well as secondary vocational and higher education institutions in all Arctic regions. Students learned about life safety, fire safety, safety in natural and man-made environments, and evacuation training.
The previous Safe Arctic exercises were held in September 2021 in seven regions of Russia’s Arctic zone. Roughly 6,000 specialists simulated emergency response scenarios, during which 47 new models of machinery, equipment, and methodologies were tested. The event also took place as part of Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council.
Russia is chairing the Arctic Council in 2021-2023. A cross-cutting priority of Russia’s chairmanship is to ensure responsible governance for the sustainable development of the Arctic with a social, economic, and environmental balance. Key tasks for the Arctic include developing cooperation to prevent and respond to emergency situations. As part of its chairmanship, Russia intends to help strengthen cooperation in identifying and analysing the risks of natural and man-made emergencies, developing ways to prevent them, and improving measures to protect the population and territories against emergencies and fires.