Is Russia ready to play nice in the Arctic?

Senator from Murmansk says Russia will respect any UN decision on control of Lomonosov Ridge

OTTAWA – A Russian politician is indicating his country might be willing to play nice in long-standing dispute with Canada over who controls the North Pole.

Igor Chernyshenko, a senator from Russia’s northern city of Murmansk, says his country will respect any UN decision on which country controls a swath of the Arctic seabed known as the Lomonosov Ridge, which extends across the North Pole.

Russia, Canada and Norway have all filed competing claims and it could take as long as 15 years for the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to decide the matter.

The UN won’t have the final say because it will be up to the countries themselves to negotiate a settlement based on the assessment.

The visiting senator tells a conference on Canada-Russia relations in Ottawa that his country will work positively to divide up the territory, which researchers believe contains significant oil and gas deposits.

The conference at Carleton University is a significant example of the Liberal government’s new foreign policy decision to re-engage with Russia because of its shared interest with Canada in the Arctic.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.