An ambitious Russian expedition intended to symbolically claim rich Arctic resources for Moscow was expected to reach the North Pole Wednesday - part of the Kremlin's efforts to strengthen the nation's energy power and expand its global clout.
The planned dive by two mini-submarines to the depth of more than 4,000 meters, or more than 13,200 feet, is intended to prop up Moscow's claims to almost 1.2 million square kilometers (more than 460,000 square miles) of the Arctic shelf - which by some estimates contains 10 billion tons of oil and gas deposits.
The expedition is taking place amid an intensifying rivalry between Russia, the United States, Canada and other nations whose shores face the northern polar ocean for vast potential riches hidden in the Arctic.
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