Putin Meets with Russia's Youngest Polar Explorers

© RIA Novosti . Michael Klimentyev / Go to the photo bankVladimir Putin meets with participants in children's ski expedition to the North Pole
Vladimir Putin meets with participants in children's ski expedition to the North Pole - Sputnik International
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has met with the participants of a teen polar expedition who returned from the North Pole, offering them a role in youth projects of the Russian Geographical Society.

MOSCOW, April 22 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has met with the participants of a teen polar expedition who returned from the North Pole, offering them a role in youth projects of the Russian Geographical Society.

“Your expedition was very difficult. The ice pack floated away. On top of that there was abnormally cold weather for this time of the year, 45 degrees below zero,” Putin said, adding that they should take part in youth projects of the Russian Geographical Society, which the president supervises.

The teenagers from different regions of Russia returned to Moscow from the Arctic less than a day ago and shared their impressions with the president. The head of the expedition, famous explorer Matvei Shapiro, said that initially the team had landed by helicopter 110 kilometers from the North Pole, but because of the strong ice drift they were forced to ski for 180 kilometers.

The Russian team of seven 16-year-olds together with two experienced polar explorers and Children's rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov conquered the North Pole last Friday. They were scheduled to return to Moscow on Sunday, but due to an ice storm the evacuation was postponed. The young travelers were picked up Sunday by aircraft of the Federal Security Service.

Russia regards the North Pole as one of its top priorities. Last year, Moscow unveiled a strategy aimed at increasing its presence in the Arctic and boosting the region's development by 2020. Experts say it may take Russia five to seven years to ratchet up its Arctic exploration effort to what it was during its golden era in the 1930-40s.

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