Moscow: Russia is strengthening its naval presence in the Arctic, a senior Russian military official has
said, stoking concerns of a scramble to secure rights to the
region`s energy-rich seabed.
"The reinforcement in the Arctic of all Northern and
Pacific Fleet units is continuing," Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky
was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti news agency yesterday.
The admiral said a proposal had been made to Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin that battleships be deployed in
Russia`s Arctic ports to protect polar sea routes.
The melting of the polar icecap could open up new sea
routes between Asia and Europe across Russia`s vast northern
fringe. Furthermore, geological surveys indicate that the
Arctic contains huge reserves of oil and natural gas.
Vysotsky`s comments are likely to irk other Arctic
nations such as Canada and the United States, who dispute
Russia`s territorial claims in the region.
Last month Putin called for a "zone of peace" in the
Arctic, and dismissed predictions of a "battle for the