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Medvedev gets tough as Russia's fires rage

Medvedev gets tough as Russia's fires rage
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It seems like a never-ending battle. No sooner have firefighters put out some of the flames ravaging Russia, then fresh blazes break out.

As wildfires covering an area bigger than Greater London continue to blaze, a state of emergency has been declared around a nuclear plant in the Urals. The reprocessing facility in Ozersk is one of several nuclear sites causing concern amid this crisis.

President Dmitry Medvedev has addressed criticism of the response to the fires. He made it clear that officials deemed responsible would be held to account.

“In the Moscow region, they have been waiting and waiting for the local forest chief but he has not come back from holiday. He seems to feel fine. Now maybe it is better for him to continue his holiday,” he said.

Satellite images show the extent of the wildfires Russia is faced with, covering some 1,740 square kilometres.

Smog from the blazes is shrouding Moscow for a third week in what has been described as Russia’s worst heat wave for a millennium.

Desperate measures are being taken to try to keep the streets cool, with trucks spraying water, but the death rate in the capital has nearly doubled and morgues are overflowing.

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