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World Politics

Moscow applies to extend Arctic border

Russia says it will formally submit an application to the United Nations next year to redraw the map of the Arctic, giving itself a bigger share of the resource-rich territory.

The plan follows a pledge last week to send troops and weapons to its icy north to guarantee its Arctic interests. The formal application to the UN would change the region's borders and allow exploitation of the territory.

Russia, Norway, the US, Canada and Denmark are at odds over how to divide up the Arctic seabed, which the US Geological Survey says holds up to 90 billion barrels of oil and 30 per cent of the world's untapped gas resources. "I hope that next year we will present a formal, scientifically grounded application to the commission of the UN," the state-run RIA news agency cited the Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov as telling a government maritime board.

Russia has said it will spend millions of dollars on studies to prove that an underwater mountain range – rich in oil, natural gas and mineral deposits – is part of its own Eurasian landmass. Canada and Denmark reject the claim, saying the geographical formation, known as the Lomonosov Ridge, which stretches across the Arctic Sea, is a geographical extension of their own land.

Russia submitted an application to the UN to claim the Lomonosov Ridge in 2001, but the document was returned and Moscow was asked to provide more proof.