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Russia's Arctic 'sea grab'

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"We are open for a dialogue with our foreign partners and with all our neighbors in the Arctic region, but of course we will defend our own geopolitical interests firmly and consistently," Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in July. Among other things, Moscow plans to build at least six more icebreakers and spend $33 billion to construct a year-round port on the Arctic shores.

Russia, Canada, the United States, Denmark, and Norway own Arctic coasts that could, theoretically, be extended as far as the North Pole. But in the absence of a regional deal, tensions are mounting.

This month, Canada holds Operation Nanook, an Arctic military exercise designed to send a stern message to Moscow. Canada also has plans for its own territorial claim. The US, which has not signed the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, under which any territorial divisions would be made, is also beefing up its regional military might.

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