Source AP ©

Russia estimates damage from oil spill

Russia estimated that damage from the oil spill was nearly 15,000 dead birds and US$251 million (169 million EUR) of natural resources.

Minister Yury Trutnev also said the amount of fuel that spilled from the tanker Volgoneft-139 since Nov. 11 had risen to more than 3,000 metric tons (979,000 gallons).

Workers continued trying to mop up some of the fuel that soiled kilometers of coastline in the Kerch Strait, the waterway that connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Azov. Russia and Ukraine share the strait.

The storm battered almost a dozen vessels in the strait and killed six sailors.

Environmental damage from the spill is estimated at nearly 6.5 billion rubles, Trutnev said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the country's veterinary watchdog agency said some 14,700 birds have died after being soiled by oil slicks. Rosselkhoznadzor also said in a statement that another 21,000 birds were at risk of dying from the oil.

On Tuesday, two Russian officials suggested that the captains of the ships that sank or ran aground were to blame for the accidents by not heeding a storm warning and moving out of port to open sea.

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