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National day of mourning declared in Russia

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National day of mourning declared in Russia

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared an official day of mourning after the country was rocked by a string of fatal tragedies. A mining disaster, a fire in a residential home and a plane crash have claimed the lives of at least 175 people over three days. Putin called for a minute’s silence in honour of the dead.

Rescuers say hope is fading for the three people still missing at the Siberian coal mine where at least 107 died in a gas explosion. Accidents in Russia’s often antiquated mines are frequent. But the Ulyanovskaya complex 3,500 kilometres east of Moscow was only opened in 2002.

Distraught relatives wept outside a makeshift morgue in the nearby city of Novokuznetsk as they waited to identify the dead. Officials have said a British mining expert is among the dead.