Russian officials confirmed Wednesday researchers at the Vostok station located on the ice sheet above had drilled down to the untouched Antarctic sub-glacial lake, RIA Novosti reported.
Just hours before the historic penetration, Russia's Natural Resource Minister Yury Trutnev arrived at the station to observe the climax of the project to drill through more than 12,000 feet into the lake.
On Friday, Trutnev arrived at a meeting with Putin and delivered a flask of water bearing a label reading "Lake Vostok, more than million years old, depth 3,769.3 meters, 5.12.11, Antarctic."
Scientists said Lake Vostok, the largest of Antarctica's buried network of icebound lakes, could reveal clues to how life evolved before the ice age.
The first sample from the lake's ancient waters has not yet been tested, researchers said.