The Arctic Ocean. Russia submitted its bid to the United Nations Tuesday in a bid for claiming vast territories within the ocean. Photo by WikiCommons.
KALININGRAD, Russia, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Russia submitted a bid to the United Nations Tuesday claiming vast territories in the Arctic Ocean.
The Foreign Ministry said Moscow will claim 1.2 million square kilometers -- more than 463,000 square miles -- of the Arctic sea shelf, which extends more than 350 nautical miles from the shore, CBC News reported.
In addition to Russia, the U.S. Denmark, Canada, and Norway have all attempted to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic, as it is thought to hold much of the planet's undiscovered energy resources, Radio Free Europe reported.
"Ample scientific data collected in years of Arctic research are used to back the Russian claim," the ministry argued.
In recent years, Russia has moved to bolster its military focus near the Arctic, with a renewed effort to restore Soviet-era base on the New Siberian Islands and other military outposts. Kremlin officials said the facilities are crucial for protecting shipping routes that link Europe with the Pacific Ocean.
In March, about 76,000 troops, over 100 ships and more than 200 aircraft took part in Arctic "maneuver" drills, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Marines practiced landing on the Arctic coast, and air force jets flew to the Kaliningrad region. Russian paratroopers reportedly successfully landed on a drifting ice block in the Arctic Ocean for the first time in history.
In 2007, Russia made a symbolic claim to the Arctic seabed, as one of its submarines dropped a canister that contained a Russian flag on the ocean floor beneath the Arctic ice sheet near the geographic North Pole, Radio Free Europe reported.