The seabed of the arctic, especially the continental shelf north of Russia, is believed to be a fresh treasure trove of oil, natural gas and precious minerals. They were all inaccessible throughout history because the severe cold weather and the great ice cap made geological prospecting, let alone extraction, virtually impossible. But thanks to global warming, that is changing fast.
The Russian government takes the prospect of an energy and mineral bonanza beneath the melting arctic ice extremely seriously.
Former Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized the resumption of long-range strategic bomber patrols over the Arctic Ocean after a long hiatus.
The slow-flying but long-endurance Tupolev Tu-95 Bear turboprop-powered bombers have exceptional range, and their relatively low fuel consumption allows them to stay aloft for unusually extended periods of time.
The Russian air force also has sent its most formidable, prestigious and expensive aircraft, the incomparable Tupolev Tu-160 White Swan (NATO designation Blackjack) on these arctic patrols as a further demonstration of how serious it is about enforcing its rights in the region.
Oil and gas explorer Max Petroleum Plc announced that Kazakhstan’s energy ministry had extended the exploration period of the company’s Astrakhanskiy block license by two years until Jan. 12, 2012.
The Kazakhstan-focused company said the amendment to the licence also established a three-year project, including a commitment to start drilling the first exploration well on the block by Dec. 31, 2009.
May 9th is Victory Day (Den Pobedy). RADA sends its very best wishes to all who have served.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has withdrawn NATO-Russia Council meeting planned for Brussels this month to protest the alliance’s upcoming military exercises in Georgia and the expulsion of two Russian diplomats from its headquarters.
Lavrov’s decision to withdraw from the May 19 meeting was based on concerns about the exercises that start Wednesday and over the expulsions last week, which were in apparent retaliation for a spy case dating back to February.
Russia is frustrated by what it sees as Western meddling in its traditional sphere of influence and opposes Georgia’s efforts to join NATO. NATO maintains the war games in Georgia, which fought a short war with Russia last August, are not directed at Russia.
The NATO exercises, which continue through June 1, were initially to include about 1,300 personnel from 19 NATO and partner nations.
Some former Soviet republics have decided not to participate.
Among the countries to back out was Armenia, which is dependent on Russia for its economic survival. Four other former Soviet republics — Estonia, Latvia, Kazakhstan and Moldova — and Serbia have also pulled out.