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Kremlin not aware of other causes behind massive wildfires in Siberia

April 17, 2015, 13:33 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Peskov commented on the statement by Russian presidential envoy to the Siberian federal district that one should not shift the blame for the wildfires to local citizens
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© TASS/Yevgeniy Kurskov

MOSCOW, April 17. /TASS/. The Kremlin has no other information on the causes behind the recent massive wildfires in Siberia’s Trans-Baikal Territory than that they were started with burning dry grass and spread quickly due to strong winds, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

Peskov commented on the statement by Russian presidential envoy to the Siberian federal district, Nikolay Rogozhkin, on Friday that one should not shift the blame for the wildfires to local citizens.

Rogozhkin said he saw the fire areas himself and claimed that "even a trained person would not have reached the hard-to-get places [where the forest is burning]."

The forest fires have swept some 120,000 hectares in the five Siberian regions, and most of them have been registered in the Trans-Baikal Territory where a state of emergency has been declared.

According to Peskov, the Kremlin has only information provided by the Emergencies Ministry, including what was mentioned in the documents and materials prepared for the annual question and answer session on Thursday, officially known as Direct Line with Vladimir Putin.

"They state that the fire was caused by grass burning and this is a very dangerous and destructive practice that, as the events have shown, may lead to catastrophic consequences," the Kremlin spokesman said. "And then the weather conditions occurred in a catastrophic way - strong winds, dryness and low temperature," Peskov stressed. "At the same time, the ice on the rivers has not melted," he added.

"The coincidence of all these factors has led to a rapid spread of fire and as it is known, it spread at such a rate that this did not allow any measures to be taken," Peskov reminded.

This information "is reported by the specialists and I cannot comment on the information of the envoy as Moscow has no such data," Peskov said. "I cannot exactly comment on the envoy’s words but I have the information from the Emergencies Ministry," he added.

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