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Ukraine refuses to extradite prank caller who spread fake news about mall fire death toll

March 29, 15:51 UTC+3 KIEV

According to Russian investigators, the man spread false rumors about the number of Kemerovo fire fatalities, misleading the victims’ families and survivors

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© EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY

KIEV, March 29. /TASS/. Ukraine will not extradite blogger Nikita Kuvikov, a prankster known as Yevgeny Volnov, who spread false information about the Kemerovo fire death toll and has been put on a wanted list by Russia, Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) Spokesperson Yelena Gitlyanskaya said on Thursday.

"Ukraine does not extradite its citizens," she told the Obozrevatel news outlet when asked about the possibility of handing Volnov over to Russia. "If you read the Ukrainian Constitution, you must know that we do not extradite our citizens," she added.

Russia’s Investigative Committee earlier launched a criminal case against Volnov under a Criminal Code article on incitement to hatred. On Tuesday, Moscow’s Basmanny District Court arrested the prankster in absentia. According to investigators, Kuvikov spread false rumors about the number of Kemerovo fire fatalities, misleading the victims’ families and survivors and trying to destabilize the situation. Recordings of his telephone calls telling about hundreds of alleged victims were released on social media shortly after the fire incident.

Kemerovo mall fire catastrophe

A fire broke out on the top floor of the Zimnyaya Vishnya (or Winter Cherry), a four-story shopping mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo on March 25, eventually engulfing an area of 1,500 square meters. According to recent reports, the catastrophic inferno claimed the lives of 64 people, including 41 children.

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