Published: Fri, August 02, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Trump calls Putin to offer help with Russian Federation forest fires

Trump calls Putin to offer help with Russian Federation forest fires

US President Donald Trump has offered help in extinguishing wildfires in Siberia in a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin held on Washington's initiative, the Kremlin press service said on Wednesday, TASS reported.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday ordered Russian police to investigate if wildfires in Siberia could have been started deliberately to hide illegal logging activity, as army planes flew in to help firefighters battle the blazes.

Footage on Russian television showed planes dumping water on fires that were belching smoke amid vast stretches of trees.

Putin, in response, expressed his "sincere gratitude" to Trump and said that if necessary, he will accept the offer, the Kremlin said on its website.

The White House later confirmed the call and said that the two leaders also discussed trade, according to Bloomberg.

The two leaders agreed to keep in contact about the situation by phone and personal meetings, a Kremlin statement said.

Putin's office thanked Trump for the offer, but denied U.S. assistance - telling him he had already instructed Russia's Defense Ministry to assist in putting out the fires.

The wildfire emergency has been declared throughout the Irkutsk region and the Krasnoyarsk Territory, as well as in one municipality of Buryatia, and one municipality of Yakutia.

The US issued sanctions against Russia both for the election interference and the attempted murder of a former Russian spy in the United Kingdom that the British government blamed on the Kremlin.

Siberian fires are visible even from space.

"In the future, it will be possible to restore full-format relations between the two countries", the Kremlin said, quoting Putin.

Relations between the U.S. and Russian Federation deteriorated after American intelligence agencies determined that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 election on Mr Trump's behalf.

Around 3 million hectares of land in the center and east of the country were ablaze on July 31, authorities said.

Trump made the comment while visiting Paradise, California, a town destroyed by the Camp Fire, which killed more than 80 people. The president claimed that the fires were caused and exacerbated by inadequate forest management and pointed the finger at the state's Democratic leaders.

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