First stage of cleanup completed after huge fuel spill in northern Russia, state media says

Russian Emergency Situations Ministry employees battle fire at Norilsk's combined heat and power plant No 3 on May 29.

Moscow (CNN)Emergency services in Russia have completed the first stage of a major cleanup operation after 20,000 tons of fuel spilled into a river in the Siberian city of Norilsk.

The fuel entered the water from a nearby power station, causing damage that one environmental group described as "catastrophic."
Yevgeny Zinichev, the local head of the Russian Emergencies Ministry, told President Vladimir Putin on Friday that the first stage of the cleanup operation was complete, according to Russian state news agency TASS.
    "The event, the emergency situation was localized on June 1,"Zinichev said, according to the agency.
    Putin has declared a state of emergency in Norilsk over the spill.
    In a statement released Friday, Russia's prosecutor general linked the disaster in the Arctic city to permafrost thawing.
    "According to available data, a preliminary reason for the depressurization of the tank with diesel fuel was the subsidence of the soil and the concrete platform under it," the statement read.
    "In order to prevent the recurrence of a similar situation at especially dangerous facilities located in territories subject to permafrost thawing, the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Igor Krasnov, the regional prosecutors and environmental prosecutors have been instructed to conduct a comprehensive audit of such locations."
    A large diesel spill in the Ambarnaya River outside Norilsk on June 3.