Vladimir Putin, President of Russia declared a state of emergency after 20,000 tonnes of diesel oil spilt into a river within the Arctic circle.
On Friday, near the Siberian city of Norilsk, a fuel tank at a power plant collapsed resulting in the incident.
Director of the power plant has been taken into custody. Although he has not been charged yet.
The reason behind the spilt oil is believed to be the ground subsidence beneath the fuel storage tanks. This year Arctic permafrost has been melting in exceptionally warm weather.
President Putin expressed anger after discovering officials only learnt about the incident on Sunday.
Russian Minister for Emergencies Yevgeny Zinichev told Mr Putin that the Norilsk plant had spent two days trying to contain the spill, before alerting his ministry.
The leaked oil drifted some 12km (7.5 miles) from the accident site, turning long stretches of the Ambarnaya river crimson red.
The spill has contaminated a 350 sq km (135 sq mile) area, state media report.
Norilsk Nickel stated that they reported the accident in time and in a proper way.
Moreover, environmental groups have warned the complexities going to arise because of the vast spill and the vast river.
Greenpeace has compared this incident with the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska.
Cleaning The Oil From River Would Cost 100bn Roubles
Former deputy head of Russia’s environmental watchdog Rosprirodnadzor, Oleg Mitvol, said there had “never such an accident in the Arctic zone”.
He further said that cleaning the river would cost 100bn roubles. He added that around 5 to 10 years would take to clean up the river.
However, earlier similar incidents happened under Norilsk Nickel. In 2016, an accident at one of its plants led to a river turning red.
Dmitry Kobylkin, Minister of Natural Resources has warned against burning off the spilt oil. He has advised of diluting the oil with reagents. Only the emergencies ministry with military support could deal with the pollution, he further said.
Russia has 441K confirmed COVID-19 cases till now.