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Dozens of marine animals washed up dead on Russia’s east coast this week. Environmental organizations speak of an ecological disaster and want to know from the Russian authorities what caused the mass deaths.

Russia: Disaster not caused by humans

Carcasses of seals, octopuses and sea urchins, among others, washed up on beaches of the Kamchatka peninsula in the Pacific Ocean in recent days.

Surfers also said they did not feel well and had eye problems after coming out of the water. A surfer told news agency AFP that he had suffered damage to his cornea as a result of exposure to a chemical substance according to an ophthalmologist.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) stated that a “toxic, soluble substance” caused ocean water pollution. According to the nature organization, it is probably not about oil. Greenpeace activists said they saw a “yellowish foam” floating on the waves and that the water was “cloudy”.

According to the Russian authorities, this is neither a human-caused disaster nor an oil spill. The Russian governor said laboratory tests were inconclusive about what happened along the coast.

Some experts suggest that a highly toxic rocket fuel could have spilled into the sea. About 10 kilometers from the affected coastal strip is a military base where experts say old stores of rocket fuel are stored, which may have started to leak.

The Pacific Fleet, part of the Russian Navy, which is stationed in the Pacific, denies any involvement and says no recent accidents or unusual events have been reported.

It is not long ago that a major environmental disaster took place in Siberia. In May, some 21,000 tons of diesel oil ended up in a Siberian river after a leak started in an oil tank belonging to the mining company Norilsk Nickel.

The company was sued last month by the Russian environmental watchdog RPN for an amount of 1.64 billion euros.

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