Russian mini-sub back from dive under North Pole; mission aims to claim Arctic riches
MOSCOW (AP) -- Two deep-diving Russian mini-submarines descended more than 2 1/2 miles under North Pole ice to stake a flag on the ocean floor Thursday, part of a quest to bolster Russian claims to much of the Arctic's oil-and-mineral wealth.
Despite the dangers of diving under 5-foot thick polar ice, one of the mini-submarines returned safely to the surface Thursday afternoon, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported, quoting Vice President of Federation of Polar Explorers, Vladimir Strugatsky.
The second mini-submarine was still on its way back, the news agency said.
The voyage has some scientific goals, including studies of the climate, geology and biology of the polar region. But its chief aim appears to be to advancing Russia's political and economic influence by strengthening its legal claims to the Arctic.
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