Russia Mourns Victims of Mall Fire in Kemerovo

Russia announces 3-day mourning for mall fire victims

President Vladimir Putin has flown to Kemerovo but has not spoken to the protesters yet.

Meanwhile, Putin termed the mall as "criminal negligence".

Putin, who was re-elected for a fourth term in polls earlier this month, visited a memorial of toys, flowers and balloons near the gutted mall's facade, telling officials he felt "like wailing" over the number of victims. According to recent reports, the blaze killed 64 people, including 41 children, and another 76 people were injured.

Kemerovo, a city of about half a million people, has been left reeling by the tragedy - one of the deadliest blazes in Russian Federation in recent years, according to state media.

Investigators said fire exits had been illegally blocked, the public address system had not been switched on, the fire alarm system was broken, and children had been locked inside cinemas.

Russian newspapers ran heart-wrenching accounts of children's last minute calls to their parents and relatives. He is one of two arrested and three detained in connection with the case so far.

Friends and family of the victims begged firefighters to attempt to save the trapped people, but emergency personnel insisted on finding the source of the fire before taking any other action.

"Tell my mom that I loved her", one woman quoted her niece as saying in comments in the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. Most likely, that the numbers will be compared on some stage. "Everyone will be checked one by one, from those who issued licenses to those who were supposed to ensure safety", Putin said.

"The investigation team of the Investigative Committee works in accordance with the demands that they have".

According to Interfax, Aleksandr Mamontov, the Head of General Department of Emergency Service in Kemerovo claimed that 27 bodies were already identified.

A young man told Putin he was outraged that the doors were locked at the mall, effectively turning the premises into "gas chambers". The corresponding order was signed by the governor Aman Tuleyev.



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