Russia’s national interests and security rely on bolstering its presence in the Arctic following a brief post-Soviet retreat, Putin said during a defense ministry meeting in Moscow on Tuesday.
“I would like you to devote special attention to deploying infrastructure and military units in the Arctic,” the Russian president said, adding that “next year, we have to complete the formation of new large units and military divisions” to stand ready on constant combat alert in the Arctic.
Canada, in the multi-country push to prove jurisdiction over territory in the resource-rich area, has asserted the inclusion of the geographic North Pole in the country’s Arctic claim submitted to the United Nations last week.
Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States all claim overlapping parts of the northern region, which is thought to be laden with hydrocarbons.
Experts say a decision on the Arctic seafloor is probably 20 years away, with scientific evaluation on Canada's claim taking roughly five years.
The Arctic seabed is believed to hold about 90 billion barrels of oil and 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered gas resources, according to the US Geological Survey.
Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, countries bordering the Arctic are entitled to a 200 nautical mile economic zone from their coastlines. However, claims for extending their territories beyond the recognized limit can be achieved if they demonstrate the seabed is an extension of their continental shelf.