The Kursk International Fund has called on Western sponsors to help raise 50% of the sum necessary to lift Russia's sunken submarine without delay until it is too late, says a communique that the fund has distributed in Brussels. The Kursk Fund asks EU countries, as well ass Japan, Canada, Norway and the USA to chip in 1.9 million euros each, which makes up 50% of the operation cost, meaning that the rest of the sum will be raised by the Russian side. Unless the operation to lift the Kursk is launched immediately, "the sunken nuclear submarine may turn out to have a harmful environmental effect," says the document as cited by RIA Novosti. The decision to lift the vessel, says the fund, came after Russian Vice Premier Ilya Klebanov had agreed with Western governments' suggestion to link the lifting of the submarine to the drawing up of a comprehensive nuclear security program for Russia. In a message to Secretary General of the Council of Europe Javier Solana, who supports the fund's goals, the leadership of the Kursk Fund pointed out that 1.9 million euros is not too large a sum for a matter as essential as this, stresses the communique.
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