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Putin rewards foreign pilots for fighting fires

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Putin rewards foreign pilots for fighting fires


Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has thanked foreign countries who helped tackle wildfires that ravaged parts of the country.

Pilots from France, Italy, Turkey and several former Soviet republics joined Russian forces in operations to put the fires out. They were rewarded at a ceremony at an airfield near Moscow.

The prime minister said it was good to know that in difficult times Russia did not have to ask for help.

“Practically all of our partners responded, showing their solidarity,” he said. “I saw myself how you have been working. Your work requires courage, skill, self-discipline.”

The heat has now subsided, but a third of Russia’s grain crop has been destroyed, as well as vast areas of forest.

At least 54 people died in the wildfires. A senior scientist claims the heatwave killed many others: in Moscow alone nearly 6,000 more people died in July than in the same month last year.

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