Sunday

17th Oct 2021

Russia re-submits Arctic claims to UN

  • Russia expects the UN to start looking at its bid in the autumn (Photo: Visit Greenland)

Russia Tuesday (4 August) announced it had submitted a revised application to the UN seeking the expansion of its Arctic shelf border, rich in oil and other natural resources.

The move is likely to add to the simmering tensions on who has jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic with the US, Canada, Denmark and Norway all in the race.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • The entire region is drawing intense interest as ice packs melt, opening up new shipping routes and access to abundant supplies of oil and gas (Photo: NN - norden.org)

The Russian bid covers an underwater area of some 1.2 million square km extending for more than 350 nautical miles (about 650 kilometers) from the shore, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The claim includes both the Mendeleev and Lomonosov Ridges, two major structures beneath the Arctic Ocean.

Russia was the first to submit a claim in 2001, but the UN sent it back on grounds of lack of evidence, asking for more research to back it up.

"A vast array of scientific data collected during many years of Arctic research serves to justify Russia's rights to this area," the ministry said on Tuesday.

Russia expects the UN to start looking at its bid in autumn.

The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea establishes the right for countries with sovereignty over their territorial sea to set a 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

In cases where the continental shelf expands beyond the set limit, the zone is allowed to be expanded up to 350 nautical miles with full control of its natural resources.

In 2007, a Russian submarine dropped a canister containing a Russian flag on the ocean bed of the North Pole to mark its Arctic claims.

The region is drawing intense interest as ice packs melt, opening up new shipping routes and access to abundant supplies of oil and gas.

The region contains 30 percent of the world's undiscovered natural gas and 15 percent of its oil, according to the US Geological Survey.

It will now be up to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to decide if Russia should be entitled to include the areas under its sovereignty.

Norway was in 2009 the first country to get its Arctic territorial claims approved, while Denmark/Greenland submitted a claim in December 2014. That latter claim includes ownership of the North Pole and is consequently in conflict with the Russian claim.

EU gets cold shoulder in the Arctic

A decision could still be years away on the European Commission's long-standing application to join the increasingly important Arctic Council as a permanent observer.

What Trump means for the Arctic

US air base in Greenand likely to expand, but Obama-era policies on global warming and environmental protection set to be main casualties of Trump rule.

News in Brief

  1. Poland legalises refugee pushbacks
  2. Report: China's Xi to snub UK climate summit
  3. Norway killings 'appeared to be' Islamist 'terrorism'
  4. Le Pen vows to 'dismantle' wind-power plants
  5. Slovenia PM tweets antisemitic conspiracy theory
  6. Italy sentences ship captain for Libya pushback
  7. Polish PM and von der Leyen to clash in Brussels next week
  8. MEPs call for improved roaming rules

Feature

Italy on edge as neo-fascists stir violence

Neo-fascist groups are planning new protests in Rome after last weekend's riots, in a heady climate in which the pandemic and immigration have fuelled extremist feeling.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. MEPs urge Sassoli to sue EU Commission on rule of law
  2. MEPs seek EU law on bogus anti-media litigation
  3. Africa seeks EU help on global vaccine-waiver
  4. Giant of 20th century European design recognised by EU
  5. Italy on edge as neo-fascists stir violence
  6. Gas-price spike will backfire on industry, energy guru says
  7. Scientists raise alarm on Greenland's ice-sheet loss
  8. EU calls for ban on Arctic oil and gas drilling

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us