Russia's Medvedev creates commission, urges investigation in coalmine blasts

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday instructed First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov to fly to the scene of a coal mine in west Siberia after two blasts killed at least 32 people to manage cleanup efforts.

More than 70 people were also injured and 58 others still unaccounted for after 2 explosions hit the mine, near the town of Mezhdurechensk in the Kemerovo Region, in the space of 4 hours late on Saturday and early on Sunday.

"On my instructions, the government has created a special commission, which will be headed by First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Zubkov," Medvedev said during a videoconference in the president's Situation Room with key ministers and rescue workers, adding: "I instruct you [Zubkov] to fly to Kemerovo Region to control the process on the spot."

Medvedev also instructed Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika to begin investigations into the cause of the blasts in the Raspadskaya mine and to find those responsible for the disaster.

"Investigations need to be held within the frameworks of the criminal case, understand how well the law on worker safety was followed," Medvedev said.

Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu is already at the mine controlling rescue efforts.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said earlier the state would pay one million rubles (just over $33,000) to the families of the deceased. He also said those people who suffered serious injuries would receive 400,000 rubles and people with less serious injuries 200,000 rubles.

"We will utilize all measures so that all rescue operations are equipped and that the family members of those killed or missing get appropriate help," Zubkov told the president during the meeting.
Bookmark and Share