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MOSCOW, August 24. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi over the human losses as a result of a devastating earthquake in the country’s central regions, the Kremlin press service reported on Wednesday.
Putin said in a telegram of condolences that "Russia shares the grief of the friendly Italian people" and expressed readiness "to render the necessary assistance in coping with the aftermath of this disaster."
The Russian head of state "conveyed the words of sympathy and support to the families and friends of those killed and wished a speedy recovery to the injured."
At least 21 people are dead following the major earthquake which struck central Italy early on Wednesday morning, according to Italian media. More than 100 are reported missing.
A 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck central Italy at 03:36 (04:36, Moscow time), which was followed by a second jolt of 5.4 magnitude. The quake epicenter was located in the Rieti province at a depth of 4 kilometers. The quake that affected a broad area of the Apennine range was felt in many large Italian cities - Perugia, Rieti and Norcia.
The populated localities in the mountainous areas - Amatrice, Pescara del Tronto and Accumuli, were the worst hit. The quake has damaged many buildings, roads and bridges, according to local reports.