Putin warned that there should be no repeat of last year’s fires, which were the largest in Russian history.
“I would like to draw special attention to the fact that we cannot allow a repeat of last year’s situation, when forest fires became the longest and most intense over the past few years,” he said. “We need to more effectively, systematically, consistently fight fires, improve the quality and level of all types of prevention.”
In an online meeting aired on state television, Putin said the fires were causing significant property damage and posing a threat to life, the environment and the economy.
There have been 4,000 forest fires on an area of 270,000 hectares this year, Acting Minister of Emergency Situations Alexander Chupryan told Putin. This area is about the same size as Luxembourg.
Eight people died on Saturday as fires engulfed hundreds of buildings in several Siberian villages and strong winds thwarted firefighting efforts. Putin said that 700 houses were damaged by fires and needed to be repaired.
“[Forests are] ecological shield of our country and the whole planet. They play a key role in absorbing global greenhouse gas emissions, which means that large-scale fires undermine our efforts to save the climate. This is a matter of principle for the whole world, for our country,” Putin said.
Many traders have avoided Russian oil ever since Russia invaded Ukraine. The US has banned imports of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas and coal, and the European Union has proposed a similar ban before the end of the year.