As wildfires blaze across Siberia, President Donald Trump reached out to Russian leader Vladimir Putin to offer assistance in combating the fires’ devastating effects. Putin expressed “sincere gratitude” to Trump for his offer, which was extended during a phone conversation on Wednesday, but declined to accept help and insisted adequate Russian military aircraft had already been sent to battle the fires.


Forest fires in Siberia have already singed 30,000 kilometers and released four million square kilometers of smoke into the air, in what is being called an ecological catastrophe for the region.

The White House confirmed earlier reports from the Kremlin regarding the conversation. However, the conversation was related differently by the two governments. According to the Russian new agency, Putin inferred that relations would normalize between the two countries and an ease in U.S. sanctions on Russia was on the horizon. The White House corroborated the aid offer, and also noted that the two leaders “discussed trade between the two countries.”

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