Putin and Russia Resubmit Claim to the Arctic and the North Pole as Ice Melts

First Posted: Aug 07, 2015 09:35 AM EDT

It turns out that Russia may be taking over the Arctic. As the ice in the northern region thaws, the country has resubmitted its claim of more than 460,000 square miles, including the North Pole, as its sovereign territory.

According to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, each nation is entitled to an exclusive economic zone that extends 200 nautical miles into the ocean from the nation's baseline. Now, though, Russia is invoking a separate. According to CNBC, the country can demonstrate that the continental shelf on which it sits actually extends farther than 200 miles. This means that the law, instead, recognizes a 350-mile limit.

The Arctic is believed to contain as much as one-quarter of Earth's undiscovered oil and gas. Needless to say, this makes the Arctic tempting territory for any country. It's also why the Arctic is now part of a territorial dispute involving Russia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and the United States.

This isn't the first time that Russia has tried to stake its claim to the Arctic and its natural resources. In 2002, for example, Putin submitted a similar claim to the UN which was rejected because it failed to provide sufficient scientific evidence to back Moscow's claims.

However, this new claim made by Russia includes data gathered by the explorer Arthur Chilingarov, who sailed a miniature submarine to the floor of the Arctic Sea at the North Pole and scooped up a soil sample there.

It's unclear whether or not Russia's claim will go through, but the main argument that the country has is that the 350-mile limit doesn't apply to its claim because the seabed and natural resources to be found beneath it are "natural components of the continent" no matter how far they are from the coast, according to Business Insider.

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