Russia's President Vladimir Putin has declared a state of emergency after 20,000 tonnes of oil leaked into a river within the Arctic Circle. It was an accident: a fuel tank at a power plant near the Siberian city of Norilsk collapsed last Friday.
But the worst was that officials only learnt about the incident two days later. "Why did government agencies only find out about this two days after the fact?" President Putin asked the subsidiary's chief, Sergei Lipin. "Are we going to learn about emergency situations from social media?" Krasnoyarsk region governor Alexander Uss told Putin he only "learned of the real situation" on Sunday after "alarming information appeared in social media." Mr Putin has ordered an investigation into the accident and a manager at the power plant has since been detained.
The plant is owned by a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel, which is the world's leading nickel and palladium producer. They said the incident had been reported in a "timely and proper" way. The leaked oil drifted some 12km (7.5 miles) from the accident site. A part of the Ambarnaya river turned red. The accident is believed to be the second largest in modern Russian history in terms of volume. It has contaminated a 350 sq km (135 sq mile) area. The clean-up operation began but due the circumstances it will be difficult to clean-up. Three criminal probes into the accident were launched by Russia's Investigative Committee.