Russia Warns of Arctic War

New document says Moscow should prepare for polar resources battle
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2009 3:41 AM CDT
A titanium capsule with the Russian flag is seen seconds after it was planted by the Mir-1 mini submarine under the North Pole during a record dive in this 2007 photo.   (AP Photo/Association of Russian Polar Explorers)
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(Newser) – A document released by the Russian government suggests that the country should prepare for war in the Arctic within the next decade, as rising temperatures intensify the scramble for the region's vast oil and gas fields. Russia claims sovereignty over a 465,000-square-mile ridge, which the US and other northern countries dispute. "It cannot be ruled out that military force could be used to resolve emerging problems," the report warned.

In the past Russia has insisted that it is not "militarizing the Arctic," but recently ministers have criticized NATO countries for activities there, and in 2007 a mini-submarine planted a Russian flag on the Arctic seabed. The document, which outlines Russia's new national security strategy and was approved by Dmitry Medvedev, also warned that Russia and China could clash over energy resources in Central Asia.