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Putin Calls For Probes Of Tragedies

The site of the burned-out retirement home in southern Russia today (ITAR-TASS) March 20, 2007 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin today ordered a special Kremlin inquiry into the three tragedies that hit Russia over the last few days.

A plane crash, a mine disaster, and a fire at a retirement home have claimed nearly 200 lives at three separate locations across the country.

"Of course, investigations must be conducted at the highest level to find out the causes of these tragedies and make the necessary conclusions," Putin said today.

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov will lead the probes into the incidents.

Today, 62 residents and staff died after a blaze swept through a retirement home in a remote village in the southern Krasnodar region.

The death toll from an explosion at a coal mine on March 19 in Siberia has risen to 106. One miner was rescued alive today and four miners are still missing.

On March 17 an ageing commercial jet crashed in Samara at the weekend. Six of the 57 people aboard died.

(compiled from agency reports)

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