MOSCOW, March 5. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed condolences to families and friends of miners who died in an explosion in Ukraine’s Zasyadko mine on Wednesday, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.
"The president also instructed the Emergencies Ministry to work on the issue of providing targeted aid for the families of those miners who died or were injured [in the mine]," Peskov added.
Thirty-three people were killed and 14 more injured in methane explosion in the Zasyadko coal mine on Wednesday, head of the press service of Ukraine’s State Emergency Service Natalya Bystraya said earlier. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) emergencies ministry spokesperson Yuliana Bedilo said that 32 people died in the explosion.
Donetsk Mayor’s Office said 230 people were in the mine at the moment of the explosion.
Russia’s Emergencies Ministry has earlier offered assistance in the search-and-rescue work at the mine.
A criminal case has been opened over the explosion in the Zasyadko coal mine, DPR prosecutor’s office told the Donetsk News Agency earlier on Thursday.
"A criminal case has been opened under Article 248 of the DPR Criminal Code ‘Violation of mining operation resulting in the death of two or more persons’," the prosecutor’s office said.
The Zasyadko mine was commissioned in 1958. The mine has seen five serious accidents over the past 15 years. The most serious one of them took the lives of 101 miners on November 18, 2007.
Two weeks later another explosion injured 52 miners there. A third mine blast the day after claimed the lives of five rescuers involved in the relief effort in the aftermath of the explosion, and left more than 30 people injured.