Russia Poised to Make Mammoth Arctic Sea Grab
Scramble for melting Arctic starting to heat up
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2011 4:03 AM CDT
Updated Aug 16, 2011 5:29 AM CDT
A titanium capsule with the Russian flag is seen after it was planted by the Mir-1 mini submarine on the Arctic Ocean seabed under the North Pole.   (AP Photo/Association of Russian Polar Explorers, file)

(Newser) – As melting ice continues to make more of the Arctic Sea accessible every year, Russia is planning to annex an area of the sea the size of Texas and Arizona combined. The Kremlin is expected to stake its claim to the waters at the United Nations, arguing that the Siberian continental shelf is connected to undersea Arctic ridges, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

The 380,000-square-mile area at stake holds up to a quarter of the world's untapped hydrocarbon reserves and a newly navigable route from Asia to Europe that could cut shipping times by about a third. Russia's claim, however, is certain to be disputed by other nations with claims to the Arctic, including the US and Canada, which plans Arctic military exercises this month aimed at sending a message to Moscow.