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Russia submits claim for vast Arctic seabed territories at UN

russia-arcticThe Prirazlomnaya platform is towed from Murmansk to an oilfield in the Pechora Sea, northern Russia, in 2011. Russia says it has submitted its bid for vast territories in the Arctic to the United Nations. The Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that Russia is claiming 1.2 million square kilometres of Artic sea shelf. (Andrei Pronin/The Associated Press)

Claims 1.2 million square kilometres of Arctic sea shelf.

Russia has submitted its bid for vast territories in the Arctic to the United Nations, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

The ministry said in a statement that Russia is claiming 1.2 million square kilometres (over 463,000 square miles) of Arctic sea shelf extending more than 350 nautical miles (about 650 kilometres) from the shore.

Russia, the U.S., Canada, Denmark and Norway have all been trying to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic, which is believed to hold up to a quarter of the planet’s undiscovered oil and gas.

Rivalry for Arctic resources has intensified as shrinking polar ice is opening new opportunities for exploration.

Russia was the first to submit its claim in 2002, but the U.N. sent it back for lack of evidence.

The ministry said that the resubmitted bid contains new arguments. “Ample scientific data collected in years of Arctic research are used to back the Russian claim,” it said.

Greenpeace responded by warning of the environmental risks.

“The melting of the Arctic ice is uncovering a new and vulnerable sea, but countries like Russia and Norway want to turn it into the next Saudi Arabia,” Greenpeace Russia Arctic campaigner Vladimir Chuprov said in a statement.

“Unless we act together, this region could be dotted with oil wells and fishing fleets within our lifetimes.”

russia-arcticA titanium capsule with the Russian flag is seen seconds after it was planted by the Mir-1 mini submarine on the Arctic Ocean seabed under the North Pole in 2007. (Association of Russian Polar Explorers/AP)



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