© RIA Novosti/Oleg UrusovThe Progress M-12M
Tubalar - small ethnic group native to the Alati Repubglic's Choya district where Russia's ill-fated Progress space freighter recently fell, will file a lawsuit against officials guilty of the incident, minority's leader Maria Sakova said on Sunday.

The Progress M-12M space freighter, carrying food and other items to the ISS, fell in South Siberia's Altai Republic on August 24 after failing to separate from its Soyuz-U carrier rocket, the first loss of a Progress freighter in the history of Russia's space industry. A rocket engine failure is believed to have caused the accident.

The freighter was carrying toxic heptyl fuel, although experts say it would have burnt up in the atmosphere. Russian medical officials have also said no trace of the fuel has been discovered.

Tubalar people believe that radiation background in their region has increased, Sakova said. "On Tuesday we will stage an extended meeting of Tubalar People's Coordination Council, where we will decide against whom - the Russian Space Agency Roscomos or the government - to file a lawsuit and how to hire a lawyer," she went on.

"All these incidents do grave harm to the environment of our native place. Tubalar people have always been living here [Choya district], and we can't live anywhere else without our Taiga," she added.

"Our group comprises only 1,500 people. The government says that all these incidents are non-hazardous, but two of our men have earlier died of heptyl poisoning - they gathered moss in the area were rockets usually fall," the woman said.