It is certainly not the first time that the Russian Federation is pushing the limits of international law for its aspirations of military and economic expansion. In yet another move in this direction, Russia has submitted its petition to the United Nations claiming exclusive control over 463,000 square miles of the Arctic sea shelf.
This is the second time that Russia have tried to claim of the area. Earlier in 2002, the UN rejected the bid on ‘lack of evidence’. So this time Russian foreign ministry is saying that they have ‘ample scientific data’.
So Why exactly is Russia so keen on claiming this land you may ask. Well, the region that Russia is trying to claim contains some of the world’s largest untapped reserves of oil and gas besides other valuable minerals. That is also the reason the US, Canada, Denmark and Norway are also trying to gain control over the parts of the Arctic.
Under the provisions of the 1983 United Nations convention on the law of the sea, a nation may require to establish an exclusive economic zone in th3e Arctic, extending 200 nautical miles from the state’s internationally recognized borders.
Apart from the obvious benefits of oil reserves and minerals, Russia will also benefit from its increased military presence. The Russian Prime Minister have asked the UN to review this request in this autumn, but the UN have said that it will look over the matter in its next meeting which is scheduled to be held in 2016. So there still is a long time for the decision to come from the UN.