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Russia is planning to create a dedicated military force to help protect its interests in the disputed Arctic region.

The presidential Security Council has released a document outlining goverment policy for the Arctic that includes creating a special group of military forces. The report was released this week and reported by Russian media on Friday.

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From the telegraph.co.uk article:
“We must finalise and adopt a federal law on the southern border of Russia’s Arctic zone,” Mr Medvedev told a meeting of the Security Council, in remarks carried by Interfax news agency.

“This is our responsibility, and simply our direct duty, to our descendents,” he said. “We must surely, and for the long-term future, secure Russia’s interests in the Arctic.”

Global warming has stepped up the fight for the disputed Arctic, believed to be laden with vast reserves of oil and gas. Russia has pitted itself against Canada, Denmark, Norway and the United States to fight for a greater part of the region, arguing that most of it is Russian territory since an underwater ridge links Siberia to the North Pole’s seabed.

Under international law, each of the five countries that lay claim to the Arctic own a 320-kilometre zone that extends north from their shores. That arrangement is up for UN review in May next year.

Medvedev’s statements on the heated Arctic issue came one day after Putin said that Russia’s defence spending would rise 27 per cent next year to nearly $100 billion (£30 million).

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From the reuters.com article:
A U.S. Coast Guard cutter will embark on an Arctic voyage this week to determine the extent of the continental shelf north of Alaska and map the ocean floor, data that could be used for oil and natural gas exploration.

U.S. and University of New Hampshire scientists on the Coast Guard Cutter Healy will leave Barrow, Alaska, on Thursday on a three-week journey. They will create a three-dimensional map of the Arctic Ocean floor in a relatively unexplored area known as the Chukchi borderland.

The Healy will launch again on September 6, when it will be joined by Canadian scientists aboard an icebreaker, who will help collect data to determine the thickness of sediment in the region. That is one factor a country can use to define its extended continental shelf.

With oil at $114 a barrel, after hitting a record $147 in July, and sea ice melting fast, countries like Russia and the United States are looking north for possible energy riches.

This will be the fourth year that the United States has collected data to define the limits of its continental shelf in the Arctic.

Russia, which has claimed 460,000 square miles of Arctic waters, last summer planted its flag on the ocean floor of the North Pole.

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bering_strait.jpg

From the timesonline.co.uk article:
Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, is to raise plans for a tunnel to link his country with America when he meets his US counterpart, George W Bush, next Sunday.

The 64-mile tunnel would run under the Bering Strait between Chukotka, in the Russian far east, and Alaska; the cost is estimated at £33 billion.

Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea football club and governor of Chukotka, has invested £80m in the world’s largest drill but has denied that it is linked with the development.

Proposals for such a tunnel were approved by Tsar Nicholas II in the early 20th century but were abandoned during the Soviet era. If finally built, the tunnel would allow rail connections between London and New York.

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From the article:
Denmark has sent a research team to the Arctic ice pack to seek evidence that the Lomonosov Ridge underwater mountain range is attached to the Danish territory of Greenland.

The research team, with specialists from Canada, Denmark and Sweden, set off on Sunday (12 August) from Tromsoe in northern Norway on board the Swedish ice-breaker Oden. They will return to Norway’s Svalbard islands on 17 September.

Canada, Russia, the US and Norway have also claims in the Arctic region, where the US Geological Survey has suggested as much as 25 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas could be hidden.

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From the article:
An audacious Russian mission to claim the North Pole for Moscow is due to reach its climax in the next 24 hours, after a week-long journey through thick ice-sheets.

Two Russian vessels – including an atomic icebreaker – are expected to reach the Pole this afternoon.

There they will release two mini-submarines which will drop a metal tube containing a Russian flag onto the seabed. The release is likely to take place tonight or tomorrow morning, according to organizers.

The gesture, while symbolic, marks an escalation of the growing international dispute over who owns the Lomonosov Ridge, a 1,240 mile underwater mountain range that crosses the polar region. It is thought to contain rich oil and gas deposits.

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Further reading here with a nice picture of the are in question.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has made an astonishing bid to grab a vast chunk of the Arctic, giving himself claim to its vast potential oil, gas and mineral wealth. His audacious argument that an underwater Russian ridge is linked to the North Pole is likely to lead to an international outcry.

Some commentators have already observed it is further evidence of growing Russian assertiveness under its authoritarian president.

A diplomatic source said that Russia was “seeking to secure its grip on oil and gas supplies for decades to come. Putin wants a strong Russia, and Western dependence for oil and gas supplies is a key part of his strategy. He no longer cares if his strategy upsets the West”.

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Diplomacide Mothballed

Diplomacide has been mothballed.
August 2017
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