Topic: Russian Arctic mission
Russian researchers in two mini-submarines dove 14,000 feet under the Pole Thursday to take soil and fauna samples on the seabed, leave a Russian flag and a message to future generations in a capsule, and establish a video link with the International Space Station (ISS), mission organizers said.
"The goal of the expedition is not to reserve Russia's rights but to prove that our shelf reaches the North Pole," Sergei Lavrov said.
A senior U.S. official said Tuesday Washington would ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in order to join a commission to examine Russian and other states' claims to Arctic waters. The U.S. also plans to send its own icebreaker to the Pole, also for research purposes, August 6.
Lavrov said Russia would proceed from international law in the shelf decision. Under international law, the five countries with territory inside the Arctic Circle - Russia, the U.S., Canada, Norway, and Denmark, which controls Greenland - can claim only a 200-mile economic zone around their coastlines.
The U.S. geological survey suggested the Arctic seabed contained up to 25% of the world's oil and natural gas reserves, and other mineral riches made accessible as the ice cap melts due to global warming.
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If attempts to drag Russia into a direct military conflict in Ukraine are successful, it would be a catastrophe for Russia comparable to the 1979-1989 Afghan war. There is no direct evidence that the US is trying to bring about a second Afghan war, but indirect evidence abounds.