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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kotlin to Get Toxic Cleanup

ST. PETERSBURG — Kotlin Island and its naval port city of Kronstadt have received official assurances that its overflowing stores of discarded ammunition and fuel and chemical dumps will be cleaned up.

Kotlin Island, with 45,000 residents, is located 29 kilometers west of St. Petersburg on the Gulf of Finland.

After a meeting with Kronstadt officials last week, Viktor Cherkesov, the presidential envoy to the Northwest Federal District, promised that the military waste will be shipped to the Saratov region. It will be destroyed at the Shikhany chemical institute, which is on a military base.

Cherkesov spokesman Alexander Chizhenok said there was no timetable on when or how the waste would be removed.

Viktor Surikov, head of the Kronstadt administration, was thrilled by Cherkesov's promise.

"We have been complaining about it, but the ammunition stores are not under the jurisdiction of civilian authorities. All we could do is to try to draw the government's attention to the plague," Surikov said in a telephone interview.

With the fall of the Soviet Union and its military withdrawal from the Baltics and East Germany, Kronstadt — an outpost of the Baltic Fleet — became a storage facility for tons of surplus ammunition.

Yury Morozov, deputy head of the naval base in Kronstadt, said if an accident should occur with the discarded ammunition, it could release an explosion equivalent to that of 1,200 tons of TNT.

There also are thousands of liters of ship fuel and other dangerous chemicals that could cause an ecological disaster in the event of a spill.

The military stores have hindered Surikov's plans to promote tourism and real estate development on the island.