Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Putin Renews Arctic Territory Claim

President Vladimir Putin is renewing Russia territorial claim to a vast region (463,000 sq. miles) of the Arctic. Its claim was rejected by a UN commission because of insufficient evidence in 2001. Russia went so far as to plant a small Russian flag on the seabead by robotic device [photo] in 2007. Despite the stunt, all other countries bordering the Arctic Ocean [map]--Norway, Canada, Denmark and the US--reject Russia's claim. Not surprisingly, all are members of NATO. The competition for jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic is becoming heated as the region is thought to contain a quarter of the world's unexploited oil and gas. Russia's claim is based on the extent of its continental shelf. It is also backing the territorial claim with military might. A new doctrine emphasizing Arctic forces including a new fleet of icebreakers was proclaimed on the nation's Navy Day. Earlier this year military exercises conducted in the Arctic involved 38,000 servicemen, fifty vessels and 110 aircraft. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said the new doctrine is formulated in response to increased NATO activity along Russia's European borders.