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Trump offers Putin help in extinguishing wildfires in Siberia

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump held a telephone conversation late Wednesday

MOSCOW, July 31. /TASS/. US President Donald Trump has offered help in extinguishing wildfires in Siberia in a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin held on Washington's initiative, the Kremlin press service said on Wednesday.

"A telephone conversation between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump was held tonight upon the US initiative. The US president offered to help Russia with extinguishing wildfires in Siberia," the Kremlin said.

The Russian president expressed sincere gratitude to Trump "for such attentive attitude, for offering help and support." Putin noted that Russia will accept the offer if needed.

The Kremlin said that Putin told Trump that an effective aviation group has been set up in Siberia for combating wildfires. The Russian Emergencies Ministry said earlier that "there are some difficulties, but issues of refueling and stationing aircraft and helicopters are being resolved."

According to the Aerial Forest Protection Service, as of July 31 wildfires are blazing on the territory of nearly 2.8 mln hectares in the control zone (hard to access zone). Largest wildfires are registered in Yakutia (1.1 mln hectares), Krasnoyarsk (over 1 mln hectares) and Irkutsk (around 700,000 hectares) regions. Over 2,700 people, 390 units of ground equipment and 28 aircraft are involved in extinguishing wildfires. A state of emergency over forest fires was declared in Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk regions, as well as in two districts of Buryatia region and one district of Yakutia region.

On Wednesday, Putin ordered 10 aircraft and 10 helicopters of the Russian Defense Ministry to join the firefighting efforts. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev held a session in Krasnoyarsk on the situation with Siberian wildfires. On Thursday, Medvedev will make a working visit to Chita, where he will discuss developing Zabaikalsky region and combating wildfires.