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Putin Visits Regions Hit By Devastating Floods

  • RFE/RL

Russian President Vladimir Putin flies over the Far Eastern Amur region, which has been hit by severe flooding.

Russian President Vladimir Putin flies over the Far Eastern Amur region, which has been hit by severe flooding.

President Vladimir Putin has visited regions hit by unprecedented flooding in Russia's Far East.

During the visit to Amur Oblast, Putin met with local farmers and provincial leaders. He assured them that compensation will be paid for damages caused by the floodwaters, which reportedly have started to recede in Amur Oblast.

Putin later arrived in the city of Khabarovsk, where the level of the Amur River continues to rise.

In Khabarovsk, Putin held meetings with regional leaders and ordered Russia's Investigative Committee to look into how local officials have handled the crisis.

"Some independent experts think that, and citizens are telling us that, some of our citizens doubt that all officials, including those in charge of hydroenergy facilities, acted strictly in line with relevant guidelines and current legislation," Putin said. "Activities of all officials ought to be thoroughly investigated, analyzed, and [findings] reported to me as a separate agenda item."

Russian Minister of Emergency Situations Vladimir Puchkov said at the meeting that the government of China, which neighbors Russia's Far East, has offered humanitarian aid to the flood-affected regions. However, Puchkov said Russia has refused to accept the offer, saying authorities will cope with the flood situation independently.

The governor of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, one of the regions badly affected by the floods, asked Putin to postpone local elections for a year. They were scheduled for September 8.

Aleksandr Vinnikov said holding elections in the current situation is impossible. Putin replied that postponing the elections is undesirable but worth considering.

Thousands of residents have been evacuated from towns and villages in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, as well as in the regions of Amur, Khabarovsk and Yakutia, in recent days.

The coal- and gold-mining industries, as well as farms in the region, have been severely damaged by the floods, which are considered Russia's worst in 120 years.

On August 27, the presidential envoy in the Far East, Viktor Ishaev, said that 100,000 people have been affected by the floods, which damaged 9,500 homes in several regions.

The Khabarovsk region's acting governor, Vyacheslav Shprot, said earlier that the flooding might last for a month.


With reporting by ITAR-TASS, Interfax, and Rossiya 24
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