Regular scandal boiling up in Ukraine-Russia relations

13:07, 19 March 2008
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Ukraine plans to charge Russian ship-owners over $1 billion?

Kyiv has intent to demand from Russia multi-million compensation for polluting the Kerh Strait with oil.

According to Russian mass-media, in particular, RIA Novosti, "Ukraine plans to charge Russian ship-owners over $1 billion in damages for a November fuel oil spill in the Kerch Strait, the press office of the Ukrainian government said on Wednesday".

A storm in the Kerch Strait, which joins the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, sank four ships and an oil tanker on November 11. The incident resulted in about 2,000 metric tons of fuel oil spilling into the sea.

Experts said petrochemical concentrations in the Kerch Strait following the storm were 50 times higher than maximum permissible levels. Some 50,000 birds have so far died as a result of the oil slick. The fuel penetrates birds` plumage causing hypothermia, and is ingested, usually with fatal results.

Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov claimed late in December that all traces of November`s disaster in the Kerch Strait had been eliminated, but Greenpeace said the consequences of fuel spill in the Kerch Strait could take up to a decade to be eliminated.

The government of Ukraine`s Black Sea autonomy of Crimea has allocated 2 million hryvna ($400,000) for disposal of spilled fuel collected in the Kerch Strait.

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