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Cablegate: Disaster Declaration: Oil Spill in Kerch Strait,

VZCZCXYZ0004
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #5480 3270414
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 230414Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5403
INFO RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KYIV 0197
RUEAEPA/HQ EPA WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS MOSCOW 005480

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

AIDAC STATE FOR AID/DCHA/OFDA FOR ANDREW/TOKAR, AID/E&E FOR
BREWER/ROBINSON
HOMELAND SECURITY FOR U.S. COAST GUARD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ENRG PREL SENV RS
SUBJECT: DISASTER DECLARATION: OIL SPILL IN KERCH STRAIT,
RUSSIA

REF: A. (A) MOSCOW 5372

B. (B) MOSCOW 5436

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

2. (SBU) The November 11 oil spill in the Kerch Straight
(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 the 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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