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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Falls Silent Out Of Respect

ReutersAmerican girls weeping Thursday outside the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, where Muscovites have placed flowers in sympathy.
Across Russia, flags were lowered to half-staff and at noon the nation observed a moment of silence in honor of the victims of Tuesday's terror attacks.

Television and radio stations halted their broadcasts, and the Cabinet interrupted its weekly meeting for a minute.

"The people of Russia share the sorrow of the American people and offer their condolences to the near and dear of the victims of the tragic events," read a decree from President Vladimir Putin ordering the observance.

Earlier Thursday, all ships from the Pacific fleet in Vladivostok in the Far East also lowered flags to half-mast and observed a moment of silence along with visiting South Korean ships.

Patriarch Alexy II held a special service to mourn those killed in the attacks in New York and Washington on Tuesday.

"We share America's grief because Russia through its own bitter experience knows of the suffering that international terrorism brings to peaceful civilians," Itar-Tass quoted him saying.

Putin spoke twice Wednesday with U.S. President George W. Bush, the Kremlin said Thursday. Putin offered two planeloads of medicine and supplies as well as 70 rescue workers and promised to share any intelligence gathered about the origins of the airborne assaults on the buildings in New York and Washington.

But Russian health officials on Thursday denied reports they had ordered collections of blood to be sent to the United States to help victims of the attacks. Sergei Polyakov, deputy chief of the Moscow health committee, told Interfax that arrangements for transporting the blood would have to be made before any shipment could be sent, but that so far the United States had rejected foreign aid.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Russia is not planning military strikes against suspected terrorist bases in the wake of the attacks because the masterminds have not yet been identified.

"This is a hypothetical question, and we are not planning any action," Ivanov said. He said Russia's task now was to strengthen its security.

(AP, WP)