- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his military to make bolstering its presence in the Arctic a top priority.

Mr. Putin said the build-up was to protect its national interests in the region, especially Russia’s recently restored airfield, BBC reported. He made the announcement on the heels of Canada’s claim to the continental shelf near the North Pole.

This isn’t the first time Mr. Putin has expressed a desire for his military to control the Arctic. But this is the first time he directly ordered the military to boost its presence there, the BBC said.

His direct order is seen as a sign of the growing tensions among nations to claim and exploit the resource-rich area, the BBC said. The Arctic is home to 30 percent of the world’s untapped gas and 15 percent of its untapped oil.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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