Russia has submitted its bid for vast territories in the Arctic to the United Nations, AP reported as the Foreign Ministry saying.
The ministry said in a statement that Russia is claiming 1.2 million square kilometres (over 463,000 square miles) of Artic sea shelf extending more than 350 nautical miles (about 650 kilometres) from the shore.
It said the bid contains new arguments. “Ample scientific data collected in years of Arctic research are used to back the Russian claim,” it said.
Moscow also is asserting ownership of the emerging Northern Sea Route, the potentially lucrative seasonal shipping route opening above its northern coastline as Arctic ice melts.
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 UN sent it back for lack of evidence. The new bid contains more data.
Russia expects the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to start looking at its bid in the fall, the ministry said.
The claim includes both the Mendeleev and Lomonosov Ridges, two major structures beneath the Arctic Ocean.
“… the claim determinating the outer borders of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean is based on the scientific understanding that the central Arctic underwater ridges, among them the Lomonosov, Medeleev, Alfa and Chukotskoye Heights, as well as the in between basins of Podvodnikov and Chukotskaya, have a continental character”, an offical statement, refered to by RIA Novosti, reads.
However, the Russian government’s resubmission to the United Nations of its bid for vast territories in the Arctic, including the North Pole, doesn’t change anything much for Canada or its pending claim in the region, geopolitical experts say.
If anything, Russia’s good behaviour has been a pleasant surprise, said Michael Byers, Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia.
Russia, the US, 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.