HAMMERFEST , Norway, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- Norwegian scientists reported they observed a Russian submarine during a chance encounter in the Arctic Ocean.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has made it clear he intends to extend Russian influence into the Arctic area, site of underground minerals and newly discovered oil and gas reserves, and the sighting of the submarine could offer the first clues of what could be the next Cold War, the British newspaper The Telegraph reported Tuesday.
The scientists, Yngve Kristofferson and Audun Tholfsen, wrote in their online journals, "In the evening we spotted lights at a distance. Turned out to be a submarine at the surface in position: 89° 17.5' N, 172° 42.9' W. We were not able to identify it." They added they walked over ice to within 100 meters (328 feet) of the submarine, but it sank beneath the surface of the water.
The sub is likely the Delta-class Orenburg, commissioned in 1981 as a ballistic missile carrier but now classified as a deep-sea research vessel. The report comes days after a Russian submarine was believed to have been seen in the Baltic Sea, within Swedish waters.
Last week, the Kremlin said a 6,000-man military force would be created for purposes of insuring Russian claims in the Arctic ocean would be protected.