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RIA Novosti

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Russia says media reports on possible Arctic conflict 'alarmist'

19:12 22/10/2008
MOSCOW, October 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Foreign Ministry believes media speculation about the possibility of a war over the Arctic are ungrounded and "alarmist," an ambassador at large said Wednesday.

"Media assessments of possible aggression in the Arctic, even a third world war, are seen as extremely alarmist and provocative. In my opinion, there are no grounds for such alarmism," Anton Vasilyev, who is also a high-ranking official on the Arctic Council, said.

"We are following the situation in the region, this also includes the military activity of other countries, but we hope cooperation will be the main feature," he said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in September at a Russian Security Council session that the external frontier of the Russian continental shelf in the Arctic should be defined as soon as possible.

"We have to reliably ensure Russia's national interests in the Arctic in the long term," he said then.

Medvedev also said the Arctic shelf is a guarantee of Russia's energy security and that the Arctic should become the resource base for Russia this century, adding that "about 20% of Russia's GDP and 22% of Russian exports are produced" in the area.

Russia has undertaken two Arctic expeditions - to the Mendeleyev underwater chain in 2005 and to the Lomonosov ridge in the summer of 2007 - to support its claims to the region. Moscow pledged to submit documentary evidence to the UN on the external boundaries of Russia's territorial shelf in 2009.

The move irritated a number of Western countries, particularly the U.S. and Canada. Under international law, these Arctic Circle countries, as well as Denmark, Norway and Russia, each currently have a 322-km (200-mile) economic zone in the Arctic Ocean.

Vasilyev said Russia still needed to carry out in-depth scientific studies to achieve success in its border claim on the continental shelf. "Much has been done, which gives grounds for certain optimism and the basis to believe the process is not endless," he said.

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RIA NovostiRussia says media reports on possible Arctic conflict 'alarmist'

19:12 22/10/2008 Russia's Foreign Ministry believes media speculation about the possibility of a war over the Arctic are ungrounded and "alarmist," an ambassador at large said Wednesday. >>

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