London, Sept.18 : Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that his country may unilaterally stake a claim to a part of the energy rich Arctic region. "We must finalise and adopt a federal law on the southern border of Russia's Arctic zone," The Telegraph quoted Medvedev as telling a meeting of his country's Security Council.
"This is our responsibility, and simply our direct duty, to our descendents. We must surely, and for the long-term future, secure Russia's interests in the Arctic," he added.
Global warming has stepped up the fight for the disputed Arctic, which is believed to have vast reserves of oil and gas.
Russia has pitted itself against Canada, Denmark, Norway and the United States to fight for a greater part of the region, arguing that most of it is Russian territory since an underwater ridge links Siberia to the North Pole's seabed.
Under international law, each of the five countries that lay claim to the Arctic own a 320-kilometre zone that extends north from their shores.
That arrangement is up for UN review in May next year.
Russia's leaders have not held back on stoking issues sure to rile the West in recent days, despite a drastic drop in its markets, fuelled by the global credit crisis and compounded by loss of investor confidence in Russia after its war with Georgia.