In July, a Russian mini-submarine planted a Russian flag on the seafloor at the North Pole, as a symbol of a Russian claim that this area is an extension of the continental shelf extending north from the Russian coast. The coming version of the Law of the Sea Treaty allows countries to claim rights to minerals under their continental shelves, and it seems likely that the Arctic Ocean covers valuable resources. If indeed global warming opens that ocean to regular use, those resources will suddenly become available. At least that is the argument the Russians are now making.
World Naval Developments: Russia Resurgent?
By Norman Friedman, Ph.D.