03:12 GMT27 January 2020
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    Russia is far outpacing the United States in developing its Arctic territory, US Senator Lisa Murkowski told Sputnik on Friday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The Alaska Senator noted that Russia was “clearly more engaged and more committed to Arctic involvement than the United States.”

    Murkowski commented on Russia's success in expanding its Arctic presence:

    “I think that they are leaps and bounds ahead of us [the United States] in terms of what they are doing in the Arctic.”

    Russia’s Arctic presence involves conducting scientific research, facilitating maritime commerce, organizing search and rescue missions and building new military outposts.

    Out of the eight Arctic nations, Russia has the most advanced presence in the region, as well as the world’s largest icebreaker fleet.

    Murkowski, who founded the US Senate Arctic Caucus, criticized the lack of US commitment to its own Arctic presence.

    “I don’t want us sitting back and waking up one day and realizing we lost the Arctic.”

    Under the current US budget, Murkowski explained, “nobody has gotten any money” among US federal agencies to carry out their Arctic responsibilities.

    Next week, the United States will assume the chairmanship of the intergovernmental Arctic Council. The Council has eight members while 12 countries have permanent observer status.

    Murkowski chairs the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and is working to introduce legislation to boost US economic infrastructure development in the Arctic.


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