Putin orders military to help clear up floods in annexed Crimea

President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian military to help clear up flooding in annexed Crimea on Monday, the Kremlin said, after heavy rain caused damage in cities on the Black Sea peninsula.

The region declared a state of emergency last week as hundreds of homes were flooded in areas including the city of Kerch and in Yalta, a tourist destination popular with Russians on Crimea’s southern coast.

The flooding on June 16-18 caused power cuts and prompted authorities to evacuate almost 2,000 people. One person was reported killed on Friday after being swept away.

More heavy rain and storms were forecast for later on Monday and on Tuesday, RIA news agency said.

Putin ordered Russia’s defence minister to bring in “forces and funds” to help the clear-up, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“Yalta has been badly affected,” he said.

Sergei Shoigu, the minister, said more forces would be sent to the area and that 21,000 people from the ministry were already involved, TASS news agency reported.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, drawing western sanctions and driving political ties to post-Cold War lows. Moscow has invested in the region to make it popular with Russian holidaymakers. Ukraine wants the territory back.

(Reporting by Tom Balmforth and Gleb Stolyarov; editing by Giles Elgood)

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