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4 Officials Sentenced Over Deadly Krymsk Floods

A Krasnodar region court Wednesday sentenced four officials who were earlier found guilty of neglecting their duties during floods in the town of Krymsk last year that resulted in the deaths of more than 160 people.

Vasily Krutko, the former head of the district administration, was sentenced to six years imprisonment in a penal colony, while Krymsk's former mayor, Vladimir Ulanovsky, was given 3 1/2 years.

Viktor Zhdanov, the former acting head of the district emergencies and civil defense department, received 4 1/2 years behind bars and Irina Ryabchenko, the former head of the Nizhnebakansk local administration, was given a suspended sentence of 3 1/2 years, Interfax reported.

All those convicted were found guilty of negligence and have been deprived of the right to hold office in local government for up to 3 years.

The floods struck on July 6 and 7 of last year, filling more than 7,000 homes with water in Krymsk, Gelendzhik, Novorossiisk, and a number of villages of the Krasnodar region. The floods triggered a humanitarian crisis, with hundreds of volunteers and emergencies workers flocking to the area to assist the victims.

Prosecutors had accused the officials on trial of failing to properly alert local residents ahead of the floods and to put in place adequate evacuation and safety measures. Among the failures cited by prosecutors was the fact that sirens designed to warn people about approaching floodwaters did not activate.

Krutko, Ulanovsky and Ryabchenko were also found guilty of forgery, while Zhdanov was convicted of attempting to embezzle money intended for flood victims. Krutko's defense said it would appeal the court's decision.

The trial, which began on May 15, was one of two separate trials connected to the Krymsk floods. Nadezhda Kurochkina, the former head of the town of Prigorodny, is also on trial for negligence and forgery, but her court hearing is being held separately because she admitted her guilt and agreed to a plea bargain with the court.

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