07:48 GMT17 February 2020
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    Russia will modernize its existing Arctic meteorological stations, build new ones and conduct some 100 expeditions annually by 2031. The research in Antarctica will be continued.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia is planning to increase the annual number of scientific expeditions in the Arctic region to 100 by 2031, the country's Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donskoi said Wednesday.

    "We are planning to increase the Russian scientific presence in the Arctic region: about 100 comprehensive expeditions will be conducted annually by 2031 under optimal conditions," Donskoi told RIA Novosti.

    He added that Russia intended to deploy nine new research vessels in the region and to modernize existing Arctic meteorological stations, as well as build new ones by 2031.

    Russia has been pressing ahead with efforts to develop its Arctic territories, including hydrocarbon production and the development of the Northern Sea Route. The country has also boosted its military presence in the area to ensure its defense capabilities in the region.

    Russia to Continue Research in Antarctica Despite Financial Hardship

    Russia will continue its scientific work in Antarctica despite financial difficulties, Donskoi said.

    "We have been recently facing financial difficulties… I hope that funding for Lake Vostok and our [Vostok] station in Antarctica will be found, so that the research there will not be suspended," the minister told RIA Novosti.

    The existence of Lake Vostok was confirmed some 20 years ago as a result of a joint research project undertaken by Russian and UK scientists. It is the largest known subglacial lake in Antarctica.

    In 2012, Russian polar explorers were the first to collect water samples from the lake to identify and study the organisms that inhabit the lake.

    Russian scientists have also obtained unique data on the Earth's climate over the last half a million years by drilling wells in thick glaciers at the Vostok station.

    Russian scientist working at the Vostok station in Antarctica, 2014
    © Photo : Kirill Chikhachev
    Russian scientist working at the Vostok station in Antarctica, 2014


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    research, expedition, Russian Ministry of Natural Resources, Sergei Donskoi, Lake Vostok, Antarctica, Arctic, Russia
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