Vladimir Putin Visits Site Of September 11 Tragedy In New York

Russian President Vladimir Putin began the New York part of his visit to the United States with a visit to the wreckage of the World Trade Centre, ruined on September 11 in unprecedented kamikaze terrorist attacks. From a temporary observation platform, built in Liberty Street, Putin saw the ruins of the 110-storeyed twin towers which buried about 6,000 people, and the cleaning up of the debris. New York Mayor Rudolf Giuliani was giving explanations to the Russian leader. On the Wall of Nations, erected at the site, there are plates with the names of countries whose citizens were killed in the terrorist attacks. One of the plates bears the name "Russia" and on one of 80 flagstaffs there is a Russian flag. Vladimir Putin laid a wreath of red, blue and white flowers - the colours of the Russian and U.S. flags - at the wall and wrote an inscription on the memorial: "I bow my head to the victims to terror. I admire the courage of New Yorkers. The great city and the great American people will win!! Vladimir Putin, November 15, 2001." Before leaving the site of the tragedy, the president came up to an ITAR-TASS New York correspondent, Yuri Kirilchenko. On September 11, he reported from the site and also helped people who suffered from the attacks. Because of the stress and overwork, his heart failed. He survived by a miracle after doctors performed an urgent and complicated operation on his heart. Putin asked Kirilchenko about his health and wished him well. Then the Russian president came up to firefighters, rescue workers and policemen who displayed great courage during the September 11 events. Later, in an interview with the U.S. National Public Radio, Putin said that visiting the site of the September 11 tragedy in New York was a "very emotional experience" for him. He emphasised that he "could not fail to visit" the site because that tragedy shocked not only him but the whole of Russia. "I would like not just to visit it but also pay tribute to the victims," the head of the Russian state said. The president said that by visiting the wreckage of the World Trade Centre he wanted to "attract attention to that tragedy once again" so that it never be repeated.

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