|© RIA Novosti. Ruslan Krivobok|
As the scale of the Japanese earthquakes became clear, Russia was quick to offer support to its neighbour.
Although relations between Moscow and Tokyo have been frosty in recent months, with the territorial dispute over the Kurils dominating the recent political agenda, the aftermath of Friday’s massive earthquake has prompted an instant response.
And help has come from the general public as much as from officials, aid agencies reported.
Red Cross staff in Primorye, the Far Eastern Russian region which faces Japan, reported that the phones were ringing off the hook as the scale of the catastrophe became apparent.
“Even when there have been tragic events in Russia we have not seen such a massive response,” the Primorye Red Cross regional offices told Komsomolskaya Pravda.
“The phone has not stopped ringing for three days.”
In the same region many families have opened up their homes to help Japanese families whose houses were destroyed by the quake and the subsequent tsunami which lashed the coastline.
Vladimir Ostapyuk, chairman of the regional branch of the Russian Union of Afghan Veterans said: “We sent an invitation to the Japanese government suggesting that victims of the natural disaster could be taken into Russian families.”
A hotline was set up on Monday morning (Sunday evening, Moscow time) and 50 host families have already been found, RIA Novosti reported.
Across Russia people have been laying flowers at Japanese embassies and consulates in a show of solidarity with the quake-stricken country.
Russia will increase supplies of liquified natural gas to Japan, deputy PM Igor Sechin confirmed during a televised meeting with Vladimir Putin.
And Sechin also said there was the potential to increase supplies of coal at a time when Japan faces nationwide energy shortages due to the shutdown of its nuclear power plants.
Putin added: “Japan is a friendly neighbour, and despite various problems we need to be reliable partners.”
Meanwhile President Dmitry Medvedev sent his condolences to those caught up in the disaster via his Twitter account, and added that he had ordered the government to provide assistance.Source: themoscownews.com
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