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Putin also instructed head of Russia's Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin to give legal assessment of the actions of all officials who let the deadly Kemerovo shopping mall fire happen. On 28 March, the Russian diplomatic mission was visited by several tens of citizens, heads of Belarusian ministries and government bodies, parliament, worldwide organizations, representatives of Belaya Rus public association, the Belarusian Union of Women and the BRSM Youth Union, and heads of several foreign embassies in Belarus.

The fire at "Winter Cherry" shopping mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo started on March 25.

Criminal negligence and slovenliness are among the causes for the tragedy of Kemerovo shopping mall, said Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting during his visit Kemerovo on Tuesday. Some of the dead were found inside a cinema, which one witness said had been locked shut.

At a funeral service in an Orthodox church in Kemerovo, about 3,600km east of Moscow, women wailed as prayers were sung over three coffins, including two small caskets for children. Some mistrust the official death toll of 64, saying it must be higher.

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Nearly all the bodies have been recovered, many of which could be identified only via DNA testing.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to comment yesterday on the regional authorities' actions, telling reporters that "Putin has said that it is hardly appropriate to issue hasty judgements". "We're talking about demography and losing so many people". As a result, many companies prefer to pay bribes instead of complying with outdated and excessive regulations, including fire safety rules.

At a Moscow gathering on Tuesday attended by several thousand people, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny, protesters held banners reading "Bribes kill children" and "We demand a real investigation".

At least one vigil held in memory of the dead in cities across Russian Federation has turned into an anti-government demonstration.


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