A heatwave has cost the lives of hundreds of vodka-drinking Russians who are drowning when they go for a swim to cool off.
More than 1200 people have died since June including 233 last week alone.
The authorities were forced to issue stark warnings when 49 people died in one day including two children.
Six children drowned in the sea of Azov in southern Russia because the summer camp employees minding them were drunk.
Vadim Seryogin, of the Russian Emergency Ministry said: “Ninety-five per cent of the people who drowned died while bathing at beaches or in recreation areas. Many of them were intoxicated. The death of the children has mainly been caused by parental neglect.”
Temperatures look set to reach a record 37 degrees Celsius this weekend and the scorching heat has led to a state of emergency being declared in drought hit areas where crops have been ruined.
Roughly a fifth of Russia’s entire grain crop has perished over nine million hectares, an area the size of Portugal.
Described by officials as the worst drought in 130 years – it has parched the land and defence forces have had to abandon night exercises for fear of starting fires with their flares and tracer bullets.
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