The United States said on Thursday that Russia's flag-planting in Arctic has no legal standing to claim for rights to the mineral-rich region.
"I'm not sure of whether they've put a metal flag, a rubber flag or a bed sheet on the ocean floor," State Department spokesman Tom Casey said of an expedition by two Russian submarines to the floor of the Arctic Ocean.
It was reported that Russians had planted a banner of rust-proof titanium as a symbol of Moscow's claim over a vast expanses of the Arctic floor.
"Either way, it doesn't have any legal standing or effect on this claim," Casey said, noting "it certainly to us doesn't represent any kind of substantive claim, and I certainly haven't heard anyone else make the argument that it does."
Casey made the remarks after Russian mini-subs completed their visit to the seabed under the North Pole.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the mission participants after their return, congratulating them on a successful mission, the Kremlin said.