Russia to submit request to UN for new Arctic borders

A decade after its first application was turned down, Russia plans to submit another request to the United Nations (UN), seeking to expand its Arctic borders by over 1 million square km, a senior government official said Wednesday.

“If the request is approved, Russia will fix its sovereign right over an extra territory of 1.2 million square meters in the Arctic Ocean and will also have a chance to increase its forecasts for hydrocarbon resources by 5 billion tons of equivalent fuel,” Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi told a meeting chaired by President Vladimir Putin.

He added that the approval of the Russian claim would support Moscow’s geopolitical interests in the Arctic and provide its control over seabed and covered waters.

Moscow initially submitted its claim to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in 2001 but was asked in 2002 to revise the application by adding more trustworthy data. Russia could again submit the claim next spring.

“Now all the work has been done. Since 2002 rather a large volume of field and camera work has been carried out in ice conditions,” Interfax news agency quoted Donskoi as saying.

For the UN to recognize Moscow’s ownership of those areas, it must be scientifically proven that they are a continuation of the continental crust with the same general geological structure.

Russia, along with the United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway, exercises sovereignty of 200 nautical miles (370 km) exclusive economic zone from their respective Arctic shorelines.

All the five countries have reserved the right to demand expansion of their exclusive zones, which requires each country to demonstrate the seabed is a natural extension of its continental shelf.

Source: Xinhua