Russian President Vladimir Putin

MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin held talks with senior security officials on Friday about the progress of Russia’s efforts to legally expand the outer limits of its continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean.

In 2021, Russia submitted a proposal to the UN to redefine its continental shelf, which is believed to contain vast untapped reservoirs of oil and gas. At the time, Moscow said it wanted much more from the Arctic seabed, a move that has implications for Canada and Denmark, which have their own grievances.

The continental shelf is defined by international law as an area of ​​usually shallow water bordering a country’s coast, which is considered an extension of its territory, allowing the country to exploit its natural resources.

“Today we have several important issues, colleagues, concerning both the domestic agenda and the issue of the external border of the Russian continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean. Let’s work,” Putin said, according to the Kremlin website.

The Kremlin did not immediately release details of the meeting, which was attended by several senior officials, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and foreign intelligence chief Sergei Naryshkin.

Russia’s Arctic neighbors are increasingly concerned about Moscow’s ambitions in the strategically important region after the country sent tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine last February.

In recent years, NATO member states have stepped up military exercises in the Arctic as Russia expands and upgrades its military infrastructure in the region.

(Reporting by Caleb Davis and Vladimir Soldatkin)