Firefighters in Grozny have been battling a blaze that broke out in a brand new 45-storey building.
The construction, meant to highlight the regeneration of Chechnya after years of civil war, was uninhabited at the time. Officials believe the blaze was sparked by an electrical short circuit and dismissed any notion of foul play.
Chechnya strongman Ramzan Kadyrov sought to play down a massive fire that raged at a showcase complex symbolizing the mainly Muslim Russian region’s recovery from war, putting the incident down to God’s will.
On his official Instagram account, the Chechnya president accused some people of writing “any kind of rubbish” on the Internet about the consequences of the fire. “Allah be their judge”, he commented.
Irony of fate, the appartment complex includes an flat owned by French tax-dodger Gerard Depardieu. The Chechen President had presented the actor the apartment as he granted him “Chechen’s honorable resident” status after leaving France.