Russian PM Putin Orders Arctic Cleanup
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has ordered that a million abandoned barrels of Soviet-era fuel be removed from the Arctic because they are polluting the environment.
Putin visited the Russian archipelago of Franz Josef Land, 1,000 km (600 miles) from the North Pole, as part of Russia's drive to reassert its presence in the resource-rich region, now opening up to commercial exploration because of melting ice.
Putin told state-run Rossiya 24 television in the Arctic he was shocked to see stocks of "abandoned barrels of fuel scattered all the way to the horizon." It was not immediately clear when Putin made the trip.
"The decrease in military activity after the collapse of the USSR has left this dump which we see now. The pollution level is six times higher than normal. What we need to do now is to organize a sweeping cleanup of the Arctic," he said.