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Russian Government Blames TNK-BP For Massive Oil Leaks

Russia's environment minister has blamed Russian-British oil company TNK-BP for causing massive oil pollution in a Siberian region.

Yury Trutnev had just returned from the Khanty-Mansiysk region where he inspected environmental violations at the Samotlor oil field.

He told the government that TNK-BP last year leaked up to 500,000 tons of oil products into Russia's Ob and Yenisey rivers.

He accused TNK-BP of "trying to avoid government control" and gave the company one month to clean up the spills from the polluted 2,200 hectares.

TNK-BP, a joint venture between BP and a consortium of Russian oligarchs, was created in 2003 and is the third-biggest oil producer in Russia.

The company this week said it was investing funds to repair infrastructure "inherited from the Soviet era."

Based on reporting by AFP and ITAR-TASS