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Putin offers condolences to Portugal’s president over wildfire victims

June 19, 2017, 14:36 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The wildfires started on June 17 in the central part of Portugal

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MOSCOW, June 19. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has conveyed his condolences to Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa over numerous deaths resulting from wildfires raging in the country, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

"The president has sent condolences to the president of Portugal over the tragic consequences of the natural disasters - the wildfires that have claimed many dozens of lives," the Kremlin spokesman said.

As the Kremlin press office reported, "in his telegram, the head of the Russian state stressed that Russia shares the grief of those who lost their nearest and dearest in this tragedy and hopes for the quickest recovery of all those who were hurt."

According to the Portuguese newspaper Publico, at least 61 persons have died in wildfires among the worst in Portugal in recent years. Another 60 people have suffered in forest fires and many of them are in a critical condition. The Portuguese authorities do not rule out that the death toll may rise further.

The wildfires started on Saturday in the central part of Portugal in the district of Leiria. The natural disaster most of all affected the community of Pedrogao Grande 200 km of Lisbon.

Efforts have failed so far to take the blaze under control. The fire-fighting effort is complicated by high temperature of up to 40 degrees Celsius and strong gusts of wind.

According to the local police, all data suggest the wildfires were not caused by intentional arson. The forest fires may have erupted after a tree was struck by lightning.

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