For now, the military standoff has unfolded with ships observing each other during exercises, long-range bomber overflights and jamming of navigation broadcasts, a Russian specialty.
In March, the Russian Navy threw three submarines simultaneously across the ice floe and, fearful of the feat going unnoticed, filmed it with a drone and posted the footage online. This month, the United States embarked the USS New Mexico, a Virginia-class submarine, from Tromso, Norway, for a rare stopover at a civilian port.
Likewise, the visit of foreign journalists to some of Russia’s most remote and secret military installations in the Arctic Ocean appeared to be aimed at highlighting the country’s capabilities.
“Inviting reporters to come and watch these modernized and reinvigorated Cold War sites is all about signaling,” said Marisol Maddox, arctic analyst at the Polar Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a research organization in Washington.
Russia, she said, wants to retain its “strongman personality” in the age of climate change.