Russian emergencies minister dies during Arctic drills

A Russian government minister and former member of President Vladimir Putin’s security detail died during exercises in the Arctic.

The emergencies ministry said Yevgeny Zinichev, 55, died while observing activities in the city of Norilsk, above the Arctic Circle. In a statement, the ministry said he was trying to rescue a filmmaker who had fallen off a cliff into a river. The filmmaker, Alexander Melnik, also died.

The BBC reported Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the RT television channel, as saying: “Zinichev rushed after the fallen man and died after hitting a protruding rock.”

“Without a moment’s hesitation, he acted not as a minister, but as a rescuer. He performed a heroic deed; this is how he lived all his life,” Andrei Gurovich, the deputy emergencies minister, said, according to the BBC.

Zinichev was in the Arctic to oversee large-scale exercises ordered by Putin. In a statement published by the Kremlin, the president said he was “shocked by the tragic news” and called it “an immeasurable personal loss.”

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