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Chemical train derailment in Ohio causes major ecological disaster — Russian official

Sergey Ivanov pointed to the politicized Western reaction to the environmental disaster

MOSCOW, February 16. /TASS/. The derailment of a train with hazardous chemicals in the US state of Ohio is a serious environmental disaster. As a result, poisonous phosgene is being released into the air, Russia’s special presidential representative for environmental protection, ecology and transport Sergey Ivanov, told TASS in an interview.

"In the state of Ohio, I believe, a serious environmental disaster has occurred. An entire train carrying very hazardous chemical waste has derailed. We classify this waste as a Class 1 hazard," Ivanov said.

He added that the US authorities, in order to mitigate the damage, decided to set fire to the leaking chemicals.

"These chemicals have been burning for a week now. During this time, all fish and animals have died in the area. The fire continues, releasing phosgene into the air. During the First World War phosgene was recognized officially as a chemical weapon. This is the type of pollutant being released," Ivanov said.

"Do you think anyone in America talks about it or writes about it? No, absolutely not. They are obsessed with the balloons," Ivanov said. "No one writes anything about the train emergency there."

Ivanov pointed to the politicized Western reaction to the environmental disaster in Ohio.

"Imagine for a second something like the Ohio incident has happened in our country. I swear the world would be in an uproar: ‘It’s awful, this is a global environmental disaster! The Russian authorities are not doing anything about it! They can't do anything!’, and so on and so forth. In the meantime, in America everybody stays silent. That's what ecology is about - it's about politics."

On February 5, the Associated Press reported that about 50 cars of a train carrying hazardous substances had derailed in Ohio. According to Michael Graham, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, a fire broke out after the cars derailed. According to the transport operator, 20 of the more than 100 cars were carrying hazardous chemicals and 14 of them contained highly toxic vinyl chloride.