The Kremlin is looking into reports of alarmingly high pollution levels in a town in the Urals emanating from a decommissioned copper mine.
Carbon dioxide levels in Sibay, about 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) east of Moscow, skyrocketed earlier this month and peaked over the weekend when they were recorded as 12 times higher than the maximum allowed. Locals recorded a video message for President Vladimir Putin, asking for help.
Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday that the Kremlin is assessing the situation.
High carbon dioxide levels were first recorded in Sibay late last year after an outburst of noxious gases from the abandoned mine.
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Local officials said at the time it would take a couple of months to deal with the oxidation of the copper ore which caused the pollution.