An international meeting to try to prevent the Arctic becoming the next battleground over mineral wealth is taking place in Moscow.
One quarter of the world’s resources of oil and gas are believed to lie beneath the Arctic Ocean.
Russia, Norway, Canada, Denmark and the United States have already laid claim to territory in the region.
Although the summit is promoting dialogue, a Kremlin adviser said Russia would defend its national interests.
Melting ice cap
The region’s resources are rapidly becoming accessible due to the rapid shrinking of the polar ice cap.
Senior Norwegian adviser Olaf Orpheum told the conference that nowhere else had seen “such dramatic changes in the surface of the Earth”.
The race for the Arctic centres on an underwater mountain range known as the Lomonosov Ridge.
In 2001, Moscow submitted a territorial claim to the United Nations which was rejected because of lack of evidence.
Three years ago, a Russian expedition planted a titanium flag on the ocean floor beneath the North Pole in a symbolic gesture of Moscow’s ambitions.
Law of the Sea
As evidence of the gathering momentum in the race for mineral resources, Russia has announced it will spend $64m (