Meeting with Interior Minister Igor Shunevich

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The Belarusian Interior Ministry and the Emergencies Ministry should check the safety of crowded places in Belarus after the deadly fire in the Russian city of Kemerovo. If serious shortcomings are detected, owners of such places must be punished. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko gave the relevant instructions as he met with Interior Minister Igor Shunevich on 27 March.

Speaking about events in Russia, Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that the previous day he had instructed the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry to check the fire safety of shopping centers. The head of state noted he had a bigger scope in mind. In particular, he said: “While shopping centers should be checked and thoroughly at that, I would like you to check all crowded places. Those are not only shopping centers, but movie theaters, and so on.”

The Belarusian head of state explained his concern about the matter. More leeway was given to private companies in how they manage their affairs last year. Fire safety regulations were relaxed among other things. “Yet we warned them that if bad things happen, heads will roll. There will be no forgiveness either for explosions or fires. If people die, businessmen will be made responsible. Yet it is difficult to atone for shortcomings after the fact if dozens or maybe hundreds of people died in that shopping center in Russian Kemerovo. We don’t want such things to happen in Belarus. The Emergencies Ministry will not be able to do it alone within a short period of time. This is why I’d like you to get involved,” demanded the President.

“I would like you to most severely punish shortcomings, which may lead to grave consequences, particularly for people and kids,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

According to the head of state, President of Russia Vladimir Putin went to Kemerovo for a reason. “Kids have died. They were innocent. They came to see cartoons and perished in flames instead. It is inadmissible. This is why you should get involved and examine all the crowded places together with the Emergencies Ministry,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

In his words, it is also necessary to pay close attention to residential houses. “Belarusians are too relaxed. They cannot even check their basements and lock them. Total recklessness. Please, check everything so that we don’t have to feel pain if, god forbid, something happens,” said the President.

The head of state pointed out he wanted this work done by 1 April. “So that we could have some picture although this work should be done continuously. You and they should do it. It is time to put these matters into focus,” stressed the Belarusian leader.