Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Russian Land Grab: Part 2

Russia says Arctic seabed 'belongs to Russia':
A Russian expedition has proved that a ridge of mountains below the Arctic Ocean is part of Russia's continental shelf, government officials have said.

The Natural Resources Ministry said tests on soil samples showed Russia was linked to the Lomonosov Ridge.

Moscow has mounted several expeditions recently - and risked tensions with rivals in August by planting a flag in the seabed below the North Pole.

The Arctic is thought to be rich in oil, gas and mineral reserves.

Correspondents say Russia's main rivals for the supposed spoils - the US, Canada and Denmark - have been angered by Moscow's recent aggressive strategy in the region.
Russia's claim to a vast swathe of territory in the Arctic has sparked an increasingly tense rivalry with other countries who believe they have a claim.

After Russia planted its flag in the seabed, Canada vowed to increase its icebreaker fleet and build two new military facilities in the Arctic.

Denmark recently sent a team of scientists to the Arctic ice pack to seek evidence that the Lomonosov Ridge was attached to the Danish territory of Greenland.

And a US Coast Guard icebreaker also set off late last month for a research expedition - although scientists said the trip had been planned well before the Russian move.

Competition for territorial and economic rights has heated up as melting polar ice caps have introduced the possibility of exploiting the previously inaccessible seabed.
This is how wars get started.

Earlier posts on this topic here and here.

Map from BBC.

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