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Russia submits Arctic seabed claim to UN

The Arctic is believed to hold up to a quarter of the planet's undiscovered oil and gas

August 4, 2015  by The Associated Press

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

The ministry said in a statement that Russia is claiming 1.2 million square kilometres of Artic sea shelf extending more than 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 up 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.

Russia expects the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to start looking at its bid in the fall, the ministry said.

Amid tensions with the West over Ukraine, the Kremlin also has moved to beef up Russian military forces in the Arctic. The effort has included the restoration of a Soviet-era military base on the New Siberian Islands and other military outposts in the Arctic. Russian officials said the facilities are key for protecting shipping routes that link Europe with the Pacific region across the Arctic Ocean.

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