President Putin says that Russia should step up its presence in the Arctic and challenge other nations in exploring the world's largest untapped natural reserves.
MOSCOW, April 22 (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia should step up its presence in the Arctic and challenge other nations in exploring the world's largest untapped natural reserves, days after it started shipping its first oil from the region.
Russia's ambitions in the Arctic have for some time been raising eyebrows among other states vying for a presence there, but the Kremlin's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula is likely to put its Arctic plans under greater scrutiny.
Russia has staked its future economic growth on developing the Arctic's vast energy resources and reviving a Soviet-era shipping route through the ice.
The United States, Denmark and Norway are also pressing for access to what they consider their fair share of the Arctic's massive oil and natural gas reserves.
Russia loaded its first crude tanker from an oil platform in the Pechora Sea last week.
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