Russia considers deploying submarines armed with nuclear-capable cruise missiles in a bid to protect resources in the disputed Arctic region.
Submarines from Russia’s Northern Fleet could be involved in efforts to stake Russia’s claim to the polar region, Vice Admiral Oleg Burtsev, deputy head of the Navy General Staff, told RIA Novosti Monday.
Northern countries like Russia, the US, and Canada are trying to assert jurisdiction over the Arctic, which is believed to contain huge oil and natural gas reserves.
Two Russian civilian mini-submarines descended to the Arctic seabed in 2007 to collect geologic and water samples and drop a titanium canister containing the Russian flag.
Burtsev also noted that authorities had not decided yet whether to use robotic underwater vehicles or submarines to stake claims on the Arctic shelf.
“In any case, Northern Fleet submarines will be used to either explore or protect Arctic territories adjacent to Russia,” he said.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The 2007 Russian mission exacerbated the controversy over an area that is believed to contain as much as 25% of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas reserves.
The dispute has intensified amid growing evidence that global warming is shrinking polar ice, opening up new shipping lanes and resource development possibilities.