US warns of Russia’s arbitrary shelf boundary demarcation
© RIA Novosti. Aleksey Danichev

US warns of Russia’s arbitrary shelf boundary demarcation

Russia could unilaterally demarcate the boundaries of its Arctic continental shelf if dissatisfied with a decision of international organizations, according to the US Department of Defense.

"Russia has generally followed international law and procedure in establishing the limits of its extended continental shelf. Russia could choose to unilaterally establish those limits if the procedures prove unfavorable and could utilize its military capabilities in an effort to deny access to disputed Arctic waters or resources," said the report, released late on Thursday.

The document also views the Arctic as a potential vector for an attack on the United States.

According to the report, developments in the Arctic might directly or indirectly hamper the Defense Department's global force-deployment capabilities and, in a broader sense, influence US strategic goals regarding competition with China and Russia in the Indian Ocean/Pacific Ocean region and Europe.

Under the strategy, the Defense Department's approach to the Arctic aims to defend US national security interests, to prudently eliminate risks for these interests, and to preserve order in the region without inciting strategic competition.

Cooperation with allies and partners is the cornerstone of this strategic approach, the document notes.