Russia Bids for Vast Arctic Territories

Russia Bids for Vast Arctic TerritoriesRussia Bids for Vast Arctic Territories

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

The ministry said in a statement Russia is claiming 1.2 million square kilometers of Artic sea shelf extending about 650 km from the shore, AP reported.

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.

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

The ministry said the resubmitted bid contains new arguments, including "ample scientific data collected in years of Arctic research."

In 2007, Moscow staked a symbolic claim to the Arctic seabed by dropping a canister containing the Russian flag on the ocean floor from a submarine at the North Pole.

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 crucial for protecting shipping routes that link Europe with the Pacific region across the Arctic Ocean.

Earlier this year, the military conducted sweeping maneuvers in the Arctic that involved 38,000 servicemen, more than 50 surface ships and submarines and 110 aircraft.