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Russian Navy experts and Irish environmentalists
Russian Navy experts and Irish environmentalists are to look into what caused a recent oil spill off Ireland, Russian Navy spokesman Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said on Thursday.

Ireland's RTE channel reported on Monday that two Russian warships had spilled 12 tons of oil into the sea some 400 km (250 miles) off the coast of Ireland, probably while refueling. Other media said up to 400 tons could have been spilled.

The General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces confirmed that a Russian warship, the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, had indeed been refueled off the Irish coast, but said no fuel leaks had occurred.

"We confirm that several days ago, the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier was refueled in the area. However, the ship's commander reported that the refueling operation had proceeded in routine fashion and there was no leak," said Gen. Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff.

The Irish authorities have said that "the Irish Coast Guard are in contact with the Russian authorities and are monitoring the spill, which is breaking up," dismissing earlier reports that suggested a collision had occurred between two nuclear-powered ships.

The Friends of the Earth international environmental organization has called for a full investigation into the incident, saying the spill could cause serious damage to marine life.

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