Following are extracts from Sputnik News (Moscow), 2 February 2106
On December 20, 2001, Russia sent an application to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental (CLCS) to expand its Arctic shelf beyond the 200-mile area, which means the right to include the underwater space near the northern coast (contiguous to the Arctic Ocean) and the eastern coast (contiguous to the Pacific Ocean) in its continental shelf.
The grounds for this were a statement that the underwater Lomonosov Ridge stretching from the New Siberian Islands through the North Pole in the direction of Canada and Greenland, as well as the Mendeleev Ridge situated further east, are a continuation of the Eurasian continent and, consequently, do not fall under the 350-mile limit.
In June 2002, the application was examined and declined due to the lack of details on the bottom relief maps and justification of the continental nature of the above-mentioned ridges and their connection with the Siberian shelf.
Russia’s current, partially revised application is corroborated by the results of a 10-year complex geological and geophysical research conducted in the Arctic water area, including full-scale expeditions engaging ice-breakers and special research vessels.
The updated application also refers to unsettled Russian-Danish and Russian-Canadian issues of the delimitation of maritime territories. Denmark’s application dated December 2014 for the shelf north of Greenland concerns a major part of the territory Russia applies for – particularly, the polar territory and part of the Lomonosov Ridge. The Canadian application, now under consideration, might also involve the territory that Russia is applying for – namely, the Mendeleev Ridge.
Considering the superimposition of their applications, the Arctic states’ foreign ministers met in Ilulissat, Greenland, in 2008, to adopt a declaration pledging to settle these and similar issues in the spirit of goodwill and compromise based on bilateral talks.
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Feature image: Three extinct polar bears stake their own claim to the north pole as the USS Honolulu looks on (en.wikimedia.org)