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Russia, China Thwart Plan For Ocean Sanctuary

Russia and China have prevented an international attempt to create the world's largest ocean sanctuary in waters off of Antarctica.

The Russian delegation blocked conservation proposals for the sanctuary at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources for a fourth consecutive time in Hobart, Australia, on October 31.

Moscow was joined by China, whose refusal to back the international plan surprised many at the 10-day conference because of previous statements supporting marine protection.

Ukraine, which had previously taken the same position as Russia, this year voted in favor of the conservation plans.

U.S. delegation leader Evan Bloom said "we had hoped to...create what would have been the largest marine-protected area in the world."

Antarctica is home to more than 10,000 species including most of the world's penguins, whales, seabirds, and colossal squid.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters