Russia yet to accept European Commission offer of firefighting aid
The European Union's executive has proposed to help Russia in gathering aid to fight the wildfires sweeping the country, but the offer has yet to be taken up, officials in Brussels said Tuesday, dpa reported.
Record-breaking temperatures and drought have turned Russia into a tinderbox, with fires raging at numerous points around the country. Moscow has already asked individual EU countries for help in fighting the fires.
But it has so far not taken up an offer for help from the EU's executive, the European Commission, which runs the bloc's disaster- response coordination unit, a commission spokeswoman said.
The offer was made by the EU's Disaster Response Commissioner, Kristalina Georgieva, a fluent Russian speaker, who has personally "been in contact with the Russian authorities ... to inform them that the commission is ready to intervene," the spokeswoman said.
Georgieva spoke with Russia's minister for civil defence, who is in contact with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. However, the Russian government has chosen to work directly with individual national capitals so far, rather than through Brussels, officials said.
The commission is responsible for the EU's Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC), a permanent body tasked with coordinating EU member states' aid to countries faced with natural disasters.
This summer, the MIC has been activated to help Poland, Romania and Bulgaria fight floods and to help Portugal battle forest fires, among other crisis situations. dpa bn amh Author: Ben Nimmo