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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Denmark Labels North Pole Flag a 'Joke'

Denmark on Wednesday called Russia's flag planting on the Arctic seabed a "joke."

"I see the Russian stunt as a summer joke,'' Danish Science and Technology Minister Helge Sander said Wednesday in e-mailed comments. "It isn't connected with the otherwise serious work they do in collecting data from the North Pole."

The area of the Arctic shelf may hold 10 billion tons of oil equivalent, as well as gold, nickel and diamonds, Russia has said.

Russia, Canada, the United States, Norway, and Denmark have territory in the Arctic Circle.

Russia contends that the underwater Lomonosov Ridge links Siberia to the Arctic seabed, which may allow the country to extend its territory. Denmark sent a team of scientists to the North Pole on Aug. 12 to investigate whether the ridge is linked to Greenland, a semiautonomous Danish territory.

"The data will be presented to the UN's ridge commission,'' Sander said. "The final decision, on where boarders between two countries should be, is taken bilaterally between the countries based on the commission's recommendations.''