Ah, the Arctic—a mystical, unexplored wonderland where the ice is melting faster than a snowman in July. And who holds the keys to this icy kingdom? None other than Russia, which just claimed victory in a big battle for control. Say goodbye to the US and Canada, folks, as it looks like they have been shown an exit door.
The uncharted Arctic region is a mysterious and alluring area of the earth that has long captivated people’s minds. But, more than its aesthetic value, several countries, including the US, Canada, and Russia, view it as strategically significant.
The Arctic has significant reserves of oil, gas, and other natural resources that are yet to be fully explored. In the future, it could also be a key shipping route, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and potentially saving millions in transportation costs.
As the ice continues to melt, the Arctic is becoming increasingly accessible, making it a crucial area for these nations. However, the nations are not ready to share the terrain with each other.
The battle for control over the Arctic region has intensified in recent years, with the US, Canada, and Russia all staking their claims. The US and Canada claim that the Arctic should be an international waterway, while Russia claims the emerging Sea Route as its own.
The Russian might in the Arctic
In 2007, Russia claimed a vast underwater area of the Arctic seabed, triggering tensions with the US and Canada, who protested that it violated international law and encroached on their own territorial waters.
In 2019, the US and Canada submitted their own competing claims to the UN, further inflaming the dispute. However, the issue has now been settled, and media reports indicate that the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) has approved Russia’s claims to seabed rights in the central Arctic Ocean.
This gives Russia legal rights to a staggering 1.7 million square kilometres of seabed, extending from the exclusive economic zone of the Russian Federation across the North Pole to the exclusive economic zones of Canada and Greenland, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark.
This outcome deals a major blow to the US and Canada, who now face the reality of a dominant Russia in the race for control over the Arctic’s valuable resources. With an estimated 13% of the world’s untapped oil and 30% of undiscovered natural gas reserves, the Arctic remains a valuable prize for Russia.
Read More: Now, Canada is in Russia’s line of fire
Not only this, but Russia is also actively building up its military presence in the area. In 2020, Russia announced plans to build 13 new military bases in the Arctic, sparking criticism from other nations that view it as a threat to regional stability.
Moreover, Russia recently conducted several military drills with allies to show its hegemony in the Arctic.
Russia’s Arctic capabilities are also unrivalled, with over 40 icebreakers currently in operation and more being built. In contrast, the US only has two Arctic-capable icebreakers, both of which are increasingly prone to breakdowns and fires.
Read More: Canada may lose the Arctics to its own allies in the coming 10 years
The Arctic security game just got more interesting! Western allies have suffered a major defeat as Russia secures validation of its extended continental shelf claim, leaving them in the icy cold. It’s time to face the music, Russia now rules the Arctic, and the West will just have to find a way to deal with it.
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