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Putin says Russia will expand its Arctic presence, restore Soviet-era military base

  • 0c092e83533126213f0f6a70670065a3.jpg

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, left, meet with activists of the United Russia party outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. President Vladimir Putin says that Russia will expand its presence in the Arctic and restore a Soviet-era military base there. A sign reads The United Russia. At left is the party's emblem. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexander Astafyev, Government Press Service)The Associated Press

  • 8210f79f533126213f0f6a7067007679.jpg

    Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with activists of the United Russia party outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. President Vladimir Putin says that Russia will expand its presence in the Arctic and restore a Soviet-era military base there. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)The Associated Press

President Vladimir Putin says Russia will expand its presence in the Arctic and restore a Soviet-era military base there.

Putin said Thursday that the Arctic region is essential for Russia's economic and security interests.

He told activists of the main Kremlin party that the Russian military has been restoring a Soviet-era military base on the New Siberian Islands that was shut down after the Soviet collapse. He added that the facility is key for protecting shipping routes across the Arctic Ocean.

Russia, the U.S., Canada, Denmark and Norway have all been trying to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic, believed to hold up to a quarter of the Earth's undiscovered oil and gas.