Russia rattles military sabre over Canada’s claim to North Pole

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OTTAWA, Ont. – Russian President Vladimir Putin is pawing the snow over Canada’s claim to the North Pole.

A day after Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird confirmed Canada is extending its Arctic territorial claim beyond the area mapped by federal scientists, Putin responded with a highly visible message to the Russian military.

In televised comments at a meeting of military officials, Putin said Russia needs to have “every lever” to protect its security and national interests in the high Arctic.

READ MORE: Canada makes claim for North Pole despite lack of scientific evidence

Russia is currently building the world’s biggest nuclear icebreaker, to add to its existing five-ship fleet.

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The Canadian military, by contrast, struggled last summer to buy its troops enough snowmobiles.

READ MORE: Harper’s trip to Arctic highlights deficiencies in Canada’s Northern strategy

However, Whitney Lackenbauer, a University of Waterloo historian who specializes in Arctic issues, says the military sabre-rattling won’t influence international territorial claims and is designed more for domestic political purposes.

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