Where does Putin go from the Crimea? Other than into the rest of Ukraine? What else is on the table for Vladimir? Well, the United Nations announced this week that Russia had sovereignty over the Sea of Okhotsk. Say what…. The Sea of what? Very few people know anything about this and the possible ramifications of this UN decision. So don’t say I haven’t educated you.
The sea is off of Russia’s Siberian coast near the Northeastern coast of Japan. The UN decided that those waters, some twenty thousand square miles of once international water’s, was part of Russia’s continental shelf and therefore owned by Russia. The Russians were predictably beside themselves. Russia’s Environment Minister Sergei Donskoi called the Sea of Okhotsk a real “Ali Baba’s cave” because of its natural resource reserve. In other words- oil!
He said it took Russia many years to achieve this success. Now the reason it’s important to know about this completely, is because of other thing going on that you and I generally aren’t privileged to know about. The reason it’s important is that the Russians are making the same claim to the entire Arctic Ocean including the North Pole. They’re making the same claim that all the and under the Arctic Ocean is actually an extension of Russia’s landmass and herefore is owned by Russia.
Canada and the US (through Alaska), Denmark hrough Greenland and Norway have a claim at the Arctic are saying no. There is something called the Arctic Council created in 1996 to facilitate cooperation among countries that have a claim in the Arctic.
Most of the council’s work involves collecting and sharing of scientific, environmental and social information between member countries and six aboriginal groups that have permanent observer status. The council has negotiated binding agreements that include deals on Arctic search and rescue and the prevention of oil spills. Security concerns are not part of the council’s mandate.
They were currently having a meeting in Yellowknife, the capital city of Canada’s Northwest Territories, ending yesterday. Russia, cut out of other international summits, is there and not much interested in cooperation. Their position is the entire Arctic belongs to Russia and are pressing the United Nations to give it to them. They sent a submarine by the way, two years ago to the North Pole, where they somehow planted a Russian flag at the seabed of the North Pole.