Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Putin's Push in Arctic Ocean
Phyllis Schlafly sees Russian aggression in latest claim over disputed Wrangel Island
While the world’s attention was distracted by his incursions into eastern Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin quietly made another provocative move that could lead to a direct confrontation with the United States. The Russian Navy sent a ship to remote Wrangel Island, planted a Russian naval flag on Aug. 20, and announced plans to build a naval base there for Russia’s Pacific Fleet.
Wrangel Island is a frozen, nearly uninhabited island in the Arctic Ocean, about 90 miles north of Siberia and 300 miles northwest of Point Hope, Alaska. It’s about the size of our two smallest states, Delaware and Rhode Island, combined.
Wrangel Island has little economic value in itself, but it is hugely important because it is the closest land to a vast swath of the Arctic Ocean, which is estimated to hold 25 percent of the world’s recoverable oil and gas. According to a European reporter, Putin has said he wants to expand Russia’s presence in the Arctic, both militarily and economically.
It’s not the first time Russia has planted a flag to claim territory in the Arctic, hoping to extend its control over that resource-rich region. In August 2007, a Russian submarine planted a Russian flag on the ocean floor at the North Pole.