Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin thanked on Tuesday the foreign governments and pilots who have contributed to efforts to extinguish wildfires in Russia.
Pilots from Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Italy, France and Turkey took part in smothering the wildfires, while many other countries contributed rescue workers.
"It is particularly pleasant to know that when we are in trouble, we do not have to ask for help or support. Practically all of our partners responded, showing their solidarity with Russia," the premier said.
Putin himself took part in putting out forest fires in Ryazan Province on board an amphibious firefighting plane.
The premier spent half an hour as co-pilot on a Be-200 plane, scooping up water from the nearby Oka River and dumping it on fires some 200 kilometers southeast of Moscow.
He dropped approximately 24 tons of water on two fires, completely extinguishing both.
The wildfires that have been raging across Central Russia since mid-June have claimed 53 lives and left over 3,500 people homeless.
ZHUKOVSKY (Moscow region), August 17 (RIA Novosti)