Russia has claimed a massive, oil-rich chunk of the Arctic, despite international laws that block ownership of the territory. The Kremlin based its move on scientists' insistence that an underwater shelf links Russia to 460,000 square miles of the North Pole, which contains 10 billion tons of oil and gas deposits which can be extracted relatively easily.
Russia’s ice grab is the size of France, Germany and Italy combined. Yet UN convention only allows one 200-mile coastal economic zone to each of the Arctic’s neighbors—Russia, the US, Canada, Norway and Denmark. The US, which has tussled for years with Russia over international maritime rights, is likely to oppose Moscow’s plans.