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Russia Declares State of Emergency After 20,000 Tons of Oil Spill in Arctic Circle

It took days before the government knew about the accident.

Mark Andrew

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  • President Vladimir V. Putin has declared a state of emergency in Siberia after a huge oil spill.
  • Reports say over 20,000 tons of diesel has spilled into the Ambarnaya River.
  • Norilsk Nickel director Vyacheslav Starostin has since been detained.

Russian President Vladimr V. Putin has placed the region of northern Siberia under a state of emergency following a massive oil spill in the Arctic Circle. According to reports, over 20,000 tons of diesel has leaked into the Ambarnaya River, which flows directly into Lake Pyasino.

Aleksei Knizhnikov of World Wildlife Fund Russia described the accident as “one of the biggest oil spills in modern Russian history,” New York Times wrote. Unfortunately, it took several days before the news finally reached officials. The Russian Investigative Committee has since launched a probe. Vyacheslav Starostin, director of the Norilsk Nickel company, has been arrested although a charge has yet to be filed.

In a video conference, Pres. Putin expressed in frustration:

“Why did government agencies only find out about this two days after the fact? Are we going to learn about emergency situations from social media?”

He also instructed investigators to find out how local officials responded to the spill, which has polluted about 350 sq km of the area.

Norilsk Nickel claims they informed authorities about the accident in a “timely manner.” Hundreds of workers have been tasked to perform a clean up and so far, they have gathered about 340 tons of oil.

Meanwhile, company First Vice President Sergey Dyachenko said:

“By the nature of the cracks in the concrete and the collapse of the supporting columns, we believe something happened in the ground — possibly the thawing of the soil.”

Dyachenko also assured the public that everything is “under control,” promising that the clean up may require a couple of weeks.

Watch this video report to learn more:

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