11:45 GMT04 August 2020
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    On Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that an order given by President Vladimir Putin to address the issue of a "whale jail" by 1 March has not been fulfilled.

    The head of the company Afalina in the Russian Far East that owns orcas and belugas, Alexei Reshetov, has decided to release the animals, Russian media reported. 

    "All our actions are aimed at implementing the Russian president's orders", he said.

    Previously, Mr Reshetov said he had no intention of releasing the whales. On Thursday, he said that all decisions related to the release of orcas and belugas would be taken in accordance with the recommendations of scientists and the Russian leadership.

    READ MORE: Pamela Anderson Releases Letter to Putin in Bid to Rescue Beluga Whales 

    The so-called whale jail in Srednyaya Bay in the Russian Far East made headlines last autumn after Greenpeace reported that preparations for selling 13 orcas — which are on the Red List of Threatened Species — to China were underway, while 15 orcas had already been sold to China. A probe was launched into the illegal fishing of aquatic animals and animal abuse.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin charged relevant agencies in February with determining the fate of the animals and verifying whether they had been caught and kept in captivity legally.

    jail, whales, animal abuse, Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin, Russian Federation
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