Although Canada and the U.S., among other nations, are disputing Russia’s claim to vast territory in the Arctic, Russia has planted its flag on the ocean floor at the North Pole. Why does it matter? Well, some 25 percent of the Earth’s oil reserves might be at stake.

The expedition to the North Pole is a scientific one and risky at that. One Russian official said placing a flag on the ocean floor was comparable to putting a flag on the moon. Russia says its expanded claim to territory is justified because the Arctic seabed and Siberia are linked by the Lomonosov Ridge discovered by the Soviets in 1948.

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