Planes are being diverted from two of Moscow’s international airports as acrid smoke blankets the Russian capital.
Pollution levels in the city have soared to five times the normal level and office workers have resorted to wearing surgical masks at their desks while many businesses have closed.
“It’s like the fall of Pompeii. It’s dreadful, my throat is parched, and I have a disgusting taste in my mouth,” said one woman .
Another Moscow resident said: “The whole country is crumbling down and on top of that, it’s also burning. It was to be expected. And the scientists long ago warned as soon as we have a very dry and hot summer all will be ablaze. And all is ablaze.”
Everyone, including tourists, are being urged to stay indoors during Russia’s worst heatwave in more than a century.
One visitor said: “The weather is warm – less than I expected (not so hot) – but there is a lot of smoke. And that’s a pity for this beautiful city. I cannot see anything.”
Even the famous onion domes of St Basil’s cathedral were not visible from the other end of Red Square as the smog descended… dimming the summer sun which is being blamed for igniting the deadliest wildfires for many decades.