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Claims to arctic 'not easy,' says Moscow

Claims to arctic 'not easy,' says Moscow
Arctic explorers Artur Chilingarov shows the picture of National flag planted on the seabed after his arrival at Vnukovo airport in Moscow on August 7, 2007. Chilingarov led an expedition of explorers who dived deep below the North Pole in submersibles and planted the Russian national flag on the seabed to stake a symbolic claim to the energy riches of the Arctic on July 24, 2007. (UPI Photo/Anatoli Zhdanov) | License Photo

MOSCOW, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Moscow faces an uphill battle in staking its claims to the oil- and natural gas-rich arctic, a Russian polar explorer said.

With sea ice receding in part because of global climate change, the United States, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Russia are examining territorial claims to the arctic as once-trapped hydrocarbons become more exposed.

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Moscow is trying to convince the international community that it has a greater claim to the arctic. A 1982 convention gives bordering nations the right to extend arctic claims if the government can prove its continental shelf extends beyond a 200-mile limit.

Russian polar explorer Artur Chilingarov said a Russian expedition began during the weekend after Moscow approved new funding for the operation, Russia's state-owned news agency RIA Novosti reports.

The nuclear-powered icebreaker Rossiya left port during the weekend on a 25-day journey to the North Pole. The mission, Chilingarov said, was to substantiate Russia's claims to the arctic.

"It is not easy to prove that the arctic shelf belongs to Russia,"' he added.

The United Nations rejected Russia's claims to more territory in 2001.

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