The Emergencies Ministry of Russia will give priority to formation and implementation of the state policy of prevention of emergencies, Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu told reporters in Moscow today. A representative of the Emergencies Ministry Press Service told RBC that a drafted government strategy for reduction of the risks and alleviation of the consequences of emergency situations had already been worked out. The representative remarked that the process of establishment of regional centers for monitoring, laboratory control and forecasting had commenced. It is planned to form airborne rescue teams in six regional centers of the Emergencies Ministry next year, and the formation and development of rescue units at the expense of local budgets in accordance with specific conditions and real needs of various regions will continue. Another key task to be accomplished in 2002 is to transform the State Fire Service into the State Fire Service of the Emergencies Ministry of Russia. The Press Service pointed out that no large changes in the organizational structure and the staff, dealing with the service regulations for firemen, are planned at the first stage. They will retain all privileges and social benefits that the Russian legislation provides.
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Eyewitnesses said that explosions could be heard in the centre of Kyiv. Smoke was seen rising above Zhuliany Airport (Kyiv International Airport)