ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, July 2 (UPI) -- Russia is launching an expedition to map the extent of the country's arctic continental shelf as part of an effort to extend its influence, officials say.
In 2001 Russia filed a request to extend its continental shelf border beyond the standard 200-mile limit, a request turned down by the United Nations for lack of evidence to support the claim, RIA Novosti reported Friday.
Russia says it will spend $50 million to explore and define the extent of its continental shelf to support its request.
Seventy-five expedition members will board a ship in the northern Russian city of Arkhangelsk in mid-July for a journey expected to take three months, including about 75 days in the arctic, RIA Novosti said.
Vast oil and gas deposits, which could be more accessible as rising global temperatures lead to a reduction in sea ice, have led to geopolitical wrangling among representatives of the United States, Russia, Canada, Norway and Denmark.
Each of the Arctic Circle countries has a 200-mile exclusive economic zone in the Arctic Ocean under international law.
But if a country can prove its continental shelf extends beyond the 200-mile limit, it can claim a right to more of the ocean floor, RIA Novosti reported.