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|Part of the Arctic Conflict|
Russian Su-35 in a mission over the north pole
|Commanders and leaders|
|Stephen Harper||Vladimir Putin|
|Casualties and losses|
|285 killed, over 800 wounded||257 killed, over 500 wounded|
|671 Canadian civilians killed
140 Russian civilians killed
The Russo-Canadian War, also known as the First Arctic War or the Forty Day War was an armed conflict that occurred in September and October 2014. Following a series of escalations involving Arctic territorial claims and maritime patrols, Russian and Canadian submarines exchanged fire, leading to a forty-day long conflict resulting in over 1000 deaths. Naval and aerial warfare were the main component of the conflict, with ground warfare being limited to the invasion of Ellesmere Island. The conflict ended with a ceasefire as part of the Copenhagen protocol.
Tensions between Russia and the Western world significantly increased in 2014 as a result of the revolution and resulting unrest in Ukraine. Cold War-style east-west tensions emerged as the United States, Canada, and the European Union imposed sanctions on Russia. Increasingly paranoid, both sides began eying the newest playing field of the new cold war, the arctic.
Lead-up to war
In the summer of 2014, officials at the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) began noticing a significant increase in Russian military activity in the Arctic. After numerous close-encounters between Canadian and Russian aircraft, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with prominent national defence officials including the Minister of Defence, Rob Nicholson on 7 August. Discussing Canada's options, they agreed to have the HMCS Victoria submarine permanently patrol arctic waterways and increase CF-18 sovereignty patrols in the region. Upon being notified about this, Russian president Vladimir Putin denounced what he called an "aggressive escalation" and vowed to respond if the Canadian military disrupted Russia's national interests. Upon seeing tensions increasing, UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon urged both parties to de-escalate the situation and encouraged diplomacy and dialogue.
East Siberian Sea Incident
Main article: East Siberian Sea Incident
On 2 September 2014 at approximately 17:38 EDT, Russian submarines launched torpedoes at the HMCS Victoria in the East Siberian Sea, resulting in damages to the submarine. It was reported that two torpedoes were launched against the Russian submarines in response, though both missed their targets. This was the first time Russian and Canadian forces had ever engaged each other.
In response to the incident, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered an eight-minute long televised address to the nation at 9:00 PM EDT, blaming the incident entirely on Russian aggression and vowed to do "everything possible" to neutralize all Russian threats to Canadian armed forces serving abroad. He then announced that all Canadian ships and submarines, as well as CF-18 fighter jets and CP-140 anti-submarine aircraft, would be authorized to use force to neutralize any threat posed to them by what he called "Russian aggressors".
As part of the new military operation ordered by Stephen Harper, Canadian CP-140 aircraft launched torpedoes against two Russian submarines on 3 November. After meeting with defense officials about the newest developments, Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered an extensive combat operation to "significantly degrade" Canadian military capabilities. Su-24 and Su-34 strike aircraft, as well as Tu-160 bombers began sorties over Canada and were ordered to strike Canadian military assets, particularly air force bases and air defence commands. On the first day of operations, 4 November, 26 targets were struck, killing 24 people including 15 civilians. Assessments stated that damage to Canadian military assets were significant. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper released a statement calling this the worst attack on Canadian soil in history and vowed to take revenge against Russian aggression. He also stated that it was time for Canadians across the country to unite against the enemy.