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    Russian president offers condolences over Australian bushfires

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    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has expressed his condolences to Governor-General of Australia Quentin Bryce over the region's deadly bushfires, the Kremlin press service said on Monday.

    MOSCOW, February 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has expressed his condolences to Governor-General of Australia Quentin Bryce over the region's deadly bushfires, the Kremlin press service said on Monday.

    "I learned with regret about the great tragedy in Australia - large-scale wildfires that rage in the southeastern part of the continent," Medvedev said in a telegram.

    "I ask you to convey words of condolence, deep sympathy and support to the families and friends of the dead and wishes of soonest recovery to the injured."

    The death toll from the unprecedented bushfires that have been raging in southern Australia over the past two weeks has topped 170 people. The fires have destroyed at least 750 houses, leaving hundreds of people homeless, and some 14,000 residential buildings are without electricity.

    Police do not rule out that the death toll could rise further.

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