ST. PETERSBURG, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Russia has confirmed its intention to expand influence in the Arctic.
Artur Chilingarov, Russia's special presidential envoy for international cooperation in the Artic and Antarctic, made the remarks in the northern port of Murmansk Friday as he returned from a trip to the North Pole delivering the Sochi Olympic flame.
The veteran Artic explorer said the extension of the operating season of the northern sea lane, the development of new naval and civil icebreaker technology, and a chance to boost energy exploration and extraction in Russia's offshore Arctic territories all augur well as the country seeks to expand its regional influence.
Russia is currently engaged in international negotiations via the United Nations to extend its effective territory in the Arctic, as local scientists try to prove that Russia's share of the continental shelf extends beyond the standard 200-nautical mile cutoff for exclusive economic rights, Chilingarov said.
If the Russian bid, expected to submit to the United Nations in 2014, is successful, the benefits to the Russian economy will be substantial, he said.
Chilingarov's statement came as global attention turned to Russian activities in the Arctic after Russian authorities arrested the crew of a Greenpeace vessel. The crew had protested oil and gas giant Gazprom's growing Arctic presence and the potential damage its extractive activities will cause to the environment.