The world is aware of Putin’s desire to restore Russia to its former glory. And every small step for him is a big step for his country. Thus, Russia has made a formal claim to a vast stretch of Arctic territory to the United Nations Committee.
But there is no reason to look at this move with doubt or concern. Winning this vast area would enable Russia to access a wide range of desired resources, ultimately giving them more economic power. But obtaining the area is harder than it sounds. Russian scientists must provide data which proves that the sought land is indeed Russian land.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Foreign affairs announced Moscow’s formal claim to approximately 463,000 square miles of the Arctic territory. If scientists manage to prove that Moscow’s claim is true, the country will be granted access to resources such as fisheries, oil and gas reserves.
It is not only Russia that wants to claim its lands, however. The U.S., Canada, Denmark and Norway will also be applying to claim northern lands as their own and it is speculated that all these claims will overlap, giving the process a long time before it will be over.
The national law clearly states that no country owns the Arctic territory, yet a UN convention permits these nations to claim economic zones over the continental shelves which border their shores.
While it is normal to question Russia’s intentions, this move is just to solidify its position as a powerful economic international player. Supposing it receives access to the north, Russia might put their hands on 5 billion tons of oil and natural gas worth around $30 Trillion according to the Ministry of Natural resources.
The interest in the region could be seen starting 2 years ago, when military forces were established in the region, reopening older arctic military bases and performing military drills. The U.S. are not at all concerned with these forces since they are said to have declined drastically after the cold war.
Another formal claim was submitted to the UN back in 2002, but was ultimately rejected on the premise of not having sufficient scientific data to prove Russia’s claim to the Arctic territory.
It remains to be seen whether this claim is going to be accepted or not. If it is supported by geological facts, it will be recognized under international law. The application will be discussed this fall.
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