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Announcement by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the Russian Federation’s continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean


    In 2001, the Russian Federation, acting on the basis of Article 76 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982, sent a report on the limits of the continental shelf stretching beyond 200 nautical miles, to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. At the same time, Russia took into consideration that according to Article 77 of said Convention, the rights of a coastal State over the continental shelf do not depend on occupation, effective or notional, or on any express proclamation.

    In 2002, having examined the Russian application, the Commission recommended that additional materials be providedto support it. In accordance with the specified recommendations, the Russian Federation conducted the necessary work, as a result of which it was decided to send two revised applications to the Commission – on the Sea of Okhotsk and the Arctic Ocean.

    The application on the Sea of Okhotsk was received by the Commission in 2013. The sub-commission, which examined this application, reached a positive decision about it.

    The preparation of the revised application on the Arctic Ocean is in its final stage. Extensive research has been carried out in uneasy Arctic conditions over the last ten years, during which a significant amount of scientific data confirming the right of Russia in this area has beengathered. In accordance with the results of these searches, the continental margin of the Russian Federation in the Arctic region includes a geomorphological and a geological shelf, which embraces the Lomonosov Rise (ridge), Podvodnikov Basin and the Mendeleev Ridge. Therefore, we are dealing with extensive underwater spaces stretching to more than 350 nautical miles from the coast of Russia.

    We note that according to Article 76(10) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and Article 9 of Annex II to the Convention, the submission of an application to the Commission and action by the Commission do not predetermine the outcome of the question of delimitation of the continental shelf between States with opposite or adjacent coasts.

    Currently, the data is being processed and Russia’s application on the Arctic Ocean, taking into account the requirements of the Commission, is being prepared. When this work is complete, our country will be ready to submit this application to the Commission.

17 January 2014