Putin issues scolding for forest fires spreading in Russia

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a scolding for the forest fires spreading across eastern Siberia, as happens nearly every year at this time.

Putin on Wednesday told officials responsible for firefighting in the affected regions that despite efforts to stop the uncontrolled burning of fields ahead of planting season, "we are unable to prevent such negative developments as we see today."

The head of the national center coordinating the firefighting operations, Viktor Yatsutsenko, told Putin that no one has been killed by the fires and although four villages have been damaged or destroyed, more than 70 others have been protected.

He said thousands of firefighters and dozens of aircraft are working to control the more than 116 fires burning across Siberia and the Far East.