Russia sends troops to secure Arctic oil rights
by Alan Harten
March 30, 2009
Russia has unveiled plans to station military units in the Arctic dedicated to safeguarding Russian interests in gas and oil deposits.
Countries in the northern hemisphere are competing for control of the polar zone, believed to have 25 percent quarter of the earth’s oil and gas reserves.
The presidential security committee released a strategy paper describing Russia’s intention to protect its huge claim until 2020.
Tass reported yesterday that six nuclear submarines are under construction. They will carry cruise missiles with upgraded nuclear-tips.
Canada, the US, Denmark and Norway, also have regions connecting to the Arctic.
The melting of the icecaps by climate change has made subterranean resources easier to exploit so disagreement has become more intense amongst the five nations.
Moscow has made various pronouncements about Russian claims to the Arctic’s reserves.
In 2007, two miniature submarines embedded the Russian flag, made of titanium, on the North Pole’s seabed.
In September, President Dmitry Medvedev said the intention is to make the area Russia’s supply base for this century.
Other countries have expressed concern about Russia’s belligerent attitude.
Russian bombers and a submarine crossed into Canada’s Arctic area earlier this month, prompting the Canadian government to insist on clarification.
NATO may station forces in the far north.
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, secretary general said NATO needed to have military participation in the area to tone down anxieties.
Moscow has reacted angrily to these suggestions by NATO.
Dmitry Rogozin, Russian liaison with NATO, said he would not negotiate a military alliance in the Arctic because many members are not countries adjacent to the area.
Polar explorer and Russia’s representative on international collaboration at the North and South polar areas, Artur Chilingarov, said this month that Russia’s claim to the Arctic is correct and that there is no intention to exclude other countries.
Moscow submitted a claim to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in 2001 to 463,000 square miles of the Arctic seas.
It maintains that the underwater Lomonosov Ridge is a part of Russia, paying almost £20 billion attempting to prove this.
Some authorities believe that 25 per cent of the earth’s hydrocarbon assets are under the seabed.
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