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Polar expedition reaches Franz Josef Land

A Russian Arctic research expedition has reached Franz Joseph Land to begin test dives ahead of its mission to explore the ocean floor at the North Pole. The explorers hope the findings of the crew will prove Russia's territorial rights to an area rich in

According to the Convention on the Law of the Sea, every nation has an economic right to an area of sea 200 miles off its coastline.

Now Russia is staking a claim on two areas around the North Pole. It has to prove that the geology of the continental shelf is the same as the geology of its land mass.

Part of the scientific crew, including ornithologists and zoologists, will stay on the islands to monitor the wildlife – migrating birds and polar bears. The scientists will be collected on the way back to Murmansk.

Two ships are taking part in the expedition, the research vessel “Akademik Fyodorov” and one of the largest Russian icebreakers, the nuclear-powered “Rossiya”, which is to help the research vessel get to the North Pole.

Earlier one of the vessels came to a halt in the Barents Sea due to engine failure several hours after departing from the northern Russian port of Murmansk. Now all the technical problems have been overcome and the expedition is moving on.

RT correspondent Dmitry Glukhovsky who's with the Arctic team aboard the nuclear-powered icebreaker “Academic Fyodorov” will provide the latest developments for Russia Today viewers. He has recently said the scientists are planning to test the “Mir” deep-dive vehicles:

“Today at some point, we will stop. The icebreaker ‘Rossiya’ will clear a space in the ice and then will perform test-dive of both subs. They will go down as deep as 1,500 metres, with their crew including their creator and first pilot Anatoly Sagalevich. We are going to test, for the first time in this expedition, both submarines in these extreme conditions,” Dmitry Glukhovsky reported.