President Putin of Russia has declared a state of emergency in a region in northern Siberia after a huge oil spill turned a river crimson and threatened to inflict significant damage to the Arctic environment.

More than 20,000 tons of diesel leaked into the Ambarnaya River near the city of Norilsk last Friday, after a fuel tank collapsed at a power plant. The accident is one of the biggest oil spills in modern Russian history, Aleksei Knizhnikov of the environmentalist group WWF Russia said.

The spill happened when a fuel tank at a power plant near the Siberian city of Norilsk collapsed.

The power plant’s director Vyacheslav Starostin has been taken into custody until 31 July, but not yet charged.The plant is owned by a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel, which is the world’s leading nickel and palladium producer.

The Russian Investigative Committee has launched a criminal case over the pollution and alleged negligence, as there was reportedly a two-day delay in informing the Moscow authorities about the spill.

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