MOSCOW—Russian President Vladimir Putin chided the billionaire boss of Norilsk Nickel on Friday over a huge Arctic fuel spill and ordered changes to the law to try to prevent such a disaster from happening again.
Greenpeace has compared the scale of last weeks accident near the northern city of Norilsk, where 21,000 tonnes of diesel poured into rivers and subsoil, to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989.
Putin has declared a state of emergency in the region and complained of what he said was a bungled state response, while Russias Prosecutor Generals office on Friday ordered a review of all hazardous objects built on permafrost after saying it looked like the ground beneath a fuel tank had subsided.
In an online meeting, Putin asked officials to amend Russian law to try avoid similar accidents in future and criticized Norilsk Nickel President Vladimir Potanin for not replacing the source of the pollution—the fuel tank—in a timely fashion.
“If you had changed it on time there would not have been this ecological damage and the company would not have had to foot these (clean-up) costs. Study this as closely as possible inside the company,” Putin told Potanin during the televised meeting.