Fifteen percent of Russia is facing disastrous environmental conditions, President Vladimir Putin said yesterday. Putin identified environmental devastation as one of the most serious problems facing the country and affecting the livelihood of its people, and said many areas of the country were in a “critical or near-critical state.” The most industrialized regions of the country are the hardest hit, Putin said, especially parts of central Siberia and the Ural Mountains region. Meanwhile, as the president was calling on industries to take responsibility for protecting the environment and announcing that “ecology must become an important element in our government policy,” some of his top cabinet members were declaring their opposition to ratifying the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.