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Russian Emergencies Minister dies after jumping off cliff to save cameraman

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Moscow: The head of Russian Emergencies Minister, Yevgeny Zinichev, died while carrying out official duty on Wednesday. The 55-year-old minister jumped off a cliff trying to save a cameraman who fell during training exercises in the Arctic city of Norilsk, officials and reports said on Wednesday.

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“The head of the emergencies ministry, Yevgeny Zinichev, tragically died saving a person’s life” at inter-agency drills in the Arctic, the ministry said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.

Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the state-funded news outlet RT, said the top minister had died as he tried to save a cameraman who fell off a cliff.

“About Zinichev,” she wrote on Twitter. “He and the cameraman were standing at the edge of a cliff. The cameraman slipped and fell… Before anyone even figured out what happened Zinichev jumped into the water after the fallen person and crashed against a protruding rock.”

It was not immediately clear when the death took place.

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President Vladimir Putin was notified of the minister’s death, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Zinichev was a member of the KGB security service in the last years of the USSR and his career took off after he served in Putin’s security detail between 2006 and 2015.

He held a number of high-profile jobs, briefly serving as acting governor of Russia’s exclave region of Kaliningrad and then as deputy head of the Federal Security Service (FSB).

He was appointed head of the emergencies ministry in May, 2018. He was also a member of Russia’s Security Council.

As head of the emergencies ministry, he held one of the highest-profile cabinet jobs, dealing with natural and man-made disasters and other rapid-response situations across the vast country.

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The two-day drills he was participating in across several Arctic cities including Norilsk, kicked off on Tuesday and involved over 6,000 people.

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