Three large buildings have been quickly erected in the Russian wilderness near the Finnish border. These buildings are being used by Russia’s Arctic Motor Rifle Brigade at the Alakurtti military base, located around 50 kilometers from the Finnish border.
Satellite images reveal that Russia has also constructed a new military storage site in Petrozavodsk, which is approximately 175 kilometers from the border. These construction projects signify Russia’s renewed investment in its military bases near Finland after a period of little to no development.
The construction method used for these buildings is unique and indicates a new technology employed by Russia. The buildings feature a strong plastic-coated fabric roof attached to a lightweight metal frame, which is said to be capable of withstanding severe cold weather.
The new halls in Alakurtti have a length of over 100 meters and a width of around 25 meters, with a floor area of approximately 2,500 square meters. Each building can easily house the combat vehicles of a battalion, accommodating about 40 MT-LB armoured personnel carriers.
Additional satellite images of Alakurtti show foundations for other planned buildings beside the new halls. These foundations have been in place since 2017 and are part of an unfinished construction project. The new method of construction using fabric and metal is a cheaper alternative to traditional sheet metal and concrete halls.
About 2,000 troops are stationed at the Alakurtti base, but a significant portion of them has been deployed to Ukraine for the ongoing war. The garrison is home to the 80th Separate Arctic Motor Rifle Brigade, which operates in cold Arctic conditions.
In Petrozavodsk, another large construction site has been identified through satellite images. This site is Russia’s largest concentration of military equipment near the Finnish border. A new hall has been built, measuring about 50 by 25 meters, and is likely to be used for equipment maintenance.
The Petrozavodsk depot plays a crucial role in refurbishing and delivering equipment for the war in Ukraine. The equipment stored there can potentially equip at least one motorized brigade of 4,000 soldiers. Most of the equipment is stored in the open, making it visible from the satellite images.
Russia has had to deploy old and outdated equipment from the Petrozavodsk depot due to the loss of newer equipment in the ongoing war. Satellite images confirm the transportation of self-propelled howitzers from the depot to the front lines.
These rapid construction projects and the deployment of troops and equipment suggest that Russia is preparing for potential developments and an increase in its military presence near the Finnish border.