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MOSCOW – News about a meteorite that hit central Russia early Friday morning has led all newscasts, squeezing out some other reports, and become a top story around the world. Meanwhile, Russian media also offered bizarre explanations and comments on the incident voiced from the country’s top politicians.
Although local networks didn’t interrupt regular programming for special coverage, they devoted substantial parts of their newscasts to the incident in South Ural’s Chelyabinsk region, in which 950 people were injured.
For instance, the evening newscast on the country’s main national network, Channel One, devoted about 20 minutes to reports related to the fireball. The state-run station aired footage of a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and the country’s emergencies minister Vladimir Puchkov, the later informing the head of the state about the situation.
While officials have confirmed that it was a meteorite that flew across the sky and exploded, some politicians have come up with their own explanations of the incident.
“It wasn’t a meteorite, it was a test launch of some new weapon by the Americans,” controversial politician and head of the populist Liberal Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, was quoted as saying by the wire service RIA Novosti. “[U.S. Secretary of State John] Kerry wanted to warn about it, he was looking for [Russia’s foreign minister Sergei] Lavrov on Monday, but Lavrov is on a business trip. [Kerry] wanted to warn him that there would be provocation and it could also hit Russia.”
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in his tweet that he would come up with proposals aimed at early detection of “alien objects” coming close to Earth.
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