An oil pipeline, owned by the Russian state-owned transport monopoly, Transneft, leaked into the Moscow River and exploded in the early hours on Wednesday afternoon (August 12), filling the air with massive flames and plumes of black smoke.

The incident occurred in the south east area of Moscow, but the pillar of smoke could be seen in Red Square, which is 15 km away from the site of the explosion.

There are no reports for casualties after the accident, but three people were taken to hospital and treated for respiratory problems.

Rescue and firefighting teams have battled with the flames for over an hour until it was taken under control. Local authorities are still investigating the cause of the accident.

The pipeline operator, Transneft, which is the largest oil pipeline company in the world is operating over 70 thousand kilometers of trunk pipelines. The state-run oil refinery transports about 90% of oil and 30% of oil products produced in Russia, in addition to considerable volumes of crude hydrocarbons from the CIS countries.

In a statement, the company said that its operations have not been affected by the fire.