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Cablegate: Disaster Declaration: Oil Spill in Kerch Strait, Russia

VZCZCXYZ0003
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #5479 3270414
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 230414Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5402
INFO RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KYIV 0196
RUEAEPA/HQ EPA WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS MOSCOW 005479

SIPDIS

AIDAC STATE FOR AID/DCHA/OFDA FOR ANDREW/TOKAR, AID/E&E FOR
BREWER/ROBINSON
EPA FOR PI/EKIMOFF/THOMPSON
DOE/PI FOR K. THOMPSON AND L. EKIMOFF
CEQ FOR CONNAUGHTON
HOMELAND SECURITY FOR U.S. COAST GUARD

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID SENV ENRG PREL RS
SUBJECT: Disaster Declaration: Oil Spill in Kerch Strait, Russia

Refs: (A) Moscow 5372, (B) Moscow 5436

Sensitive but unclassified, not for internet distribution.


1. (U) This is an action request. See paragraph 4.

2. (SBU) The November 11 oil spill in the Kerch Strait (which runs
between the Black and Azov Seas near Crimea) continues to affect
large numbers of fish and wildlife and is now spreading into the Sea
of Azov (refs A, B). Efforts to contain and remediate the spill
have been limited by high seas and reported GOR disagreements with
Ukraine over construction of a temporary dam between mainland Russia
and the Ukrainian Island of Tuzla (ref B). Damages from the
disaster continue to mount and U.S. emergency assistance is required
to advise on a containment and remediation plan.

3. (SBU) Given the potential of emergency assistance to avert
long-term economic and environmental damage to Sea of Azov and Black
Sea, the Ambassador declares the oil spill in the Kerch Strait a
disaster. He has determined that the incident is of a sufficient
magnitude to warrant external assistance (ref A), the GOR has stated
its willingness to accept assistance (ref B), and it is in the
interests of the United States to provide such assistance.

4. (SBU) ACTION: Mission requests OFDA consideration and approval of
up to USD 50,000 to provide short-term technical expertise to
mitigate environmental and economic damages. In consultation with
OFDA, Embassy proposes that these funds be used to support rapid
assessment of the situation by a team from the U.S. Coast Guard or
other agencies to consult with the GOR on the most appropriate
response. Remaining funds are also proposed to support short-term
remediation efforts of local non-governmental organizations.

BURNS

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