5 Aug 2010

Officials sacked after fire destroys Russian naval base

7:49 pm on 5 August 2010

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has sacked several top military officials for failing to stop wildfires from destroying a naval base near Moscow.

He has also reprimanded the head of the navy.

The fires have killed at least 48 people and devastated villages and forests across large areas of Russia, which is experiencing a heatwave. States of emergency have been declared in seven regions.

Meanwhile, in the city of Sarov 350km east of Moscow, radioactive material has been removed from a nuclear facility surrounded by fire.

Nuclear agency head Sergei Kiriyenko says that there is no risk of a nuclear disaster and that the primary concern is the threat to expensive equipment and the suspension of important work.

Sarov, home to a nuclear research centre, is closed to foreigners.