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Putin Lays Claim to North Pole

posted: 08/06/15
by: Danny Clemens
Map of the North Pole
Paul Hart/iStock

Russia is petitioning the United Nations for exclusive economic control over 463,000 square miles of the Arctic, including the North Pole.

The area is potentially home to valuable deposits of oil and gas, which have become more accessible as Arctic ice has continued to melt at unprecedented rates.

According to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, each nation is entitled to an exclusive economic zone that extends 200 nautical miles into the ocean from the nation's baseline. Russia, however, is invoking a separate rule because it "can demonstrate that the continental shelf on which it sits actually extends farther then 200 miles. In such cases, the law recognizes a 350-mile limit," according to CNBC.

The United Nations rejected a similar claim in 2002, citing a lack of scientific evidence to substantiate Russia's claims. This time around, Russia has pulled out all of the stops. Russian leaders claim to have sent a mini-submarine to the region to collect scientific evidence. The sub reportedly planted a small Russian flag on the sea floor beneath the North Pole, the New York Times reports.

It's unclear how Russia's claim would impact Santa Claus, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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