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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Thieves Blamed for Spill

MOSCOW () -- Oil spurted 50 meters into the air from a pipeline damaged by oil thieves, contaminating a large area in an agricultural region in southern Russia, Itar-Tass reported.

The fountain of oil spurted from a valve that broke Friday near Adygeya, about 1,200 kilometers south of Moscow, the agency said Saturday.

The pipeline was shut down by mid-afternoon, but the leak continued until the middle of the night, the report said.

Officials from the Emergency Situations Ministry would not estimate the amount of oil spilled, but worried that some of it could get into a tributary of the Kuban River, which flows into a major reservoir, the report said.

Authorities suspected that the valve was broken by thieves trying to tap the oil. No arrests have been made.