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AKIPRESS.COM - The Russian authorities have had to deny media reports that a Siberian lake popular with tourists has been transferred in its entirely to neighbouring Kazakhstan, BBC reported.
Administration of the Kupinsky district of the Novosibirsk region said earlier this week that the Sladkoye lake in Russia's Novosibirsk region was transfered to Kazakhstan after demarcation works.
Novosibirsk Regional Council deputy leader Andrei Panferov told Kommersant newspaper that this was "just idle talk - How can anyone imagine we can just hand over a chunk of sovereign territory?"
The confusion arose when Kupino district council asked people to stay away from the lake while border demarcation work was under way. The public misunderstood this as meaning the border, which runs through the lake, was going to move, Mr Panferov insists.
The head of Kupino council, Vladimir Shubnikov, told regional newspaper NGS Novosti earlier this week that "Sladkoye is a half-swamp and half-lake absolutely useless lake." "It was easier to move this part (Russian part of the lake). This lake has no fish and serves only as a decoration. Demarcation did not affect the economic activity. We also have Gorkoye lake, which is curative. As for the Sladkoye, it is absolutely useless," Shubnikov said.
But the idea that Mr Shubnikov was just expressing a personal opinion was undermined by a widely-reported statement on the Kupino council website that "Sladkoye will lie completely in Kazakhstan once the border work is finished".
The statement has disappeared from the website, although it has been saved here, and Mr Shubnikov is lying low, Kommersant says.