"Dear fellow citizens, dear residents of Dnipropetrovsk,

A tragedy has happened in Ukraine. Fifteen of our people were killed in a gas blast in a block of flats in Dnipropetrovsk on October 13. Dozens of people, including children, were hospitalized. Their homes were damaged and destroyed.

This is a great and irretrievable loss for all of us. I want Ukraine to respond to this tragedy. I have issued a decree to declare October 16, 2007 as a national day of mourning. With great sadness, I would like to send condolences to the families of those who were killed. Your pain is the pain of the entire nation. I would like to say the words of support to all the victims. The state will spare no effort to help and protect you in this grief.

When I received information about the accident, I immediately instructed the government, local authorities and rescue services to take measures aimed at saving the people and dealing with the aftermath of the blast. An emergency state commission has been established on my order. UAH 94 million from the state budget will be spent to buy new homes for the victims and UAH 5 mln on rescue and relief efforts.

The rubble is being cleared and those from the ruined and damaged apartments are being resettled. The central and local authorities must give necessary medical and psychological aid to the victims and provide warm shelter, clothes, hot meals and drinking water for them.

I would like to thank rescue teams that are working all day long at the scene of the disaster. I order all responsible leaders to ensure that the people are fully protected by the state. All these issues and rescue efforts are under my control.

I demand that the prosecutor general’s office and the prosecutor general investigate the criminal cases initiated after the blast thoroughly and immediately find out the causes of the accident and find those guilty.

The bank account of Dniprogaz has been arrested. Its leaders, among them chief engineer and his first deputy, have been arrested on the grounds of professional negligence. I firmly demand that all the circumstances of this tragedy be studied.

Dear Ukrainians, I call on all the citizens of Ukraine to show compassion for the grief of Dnipropetrovsk and support the victims, especially the children. This tragedy must leave no one indifferent.

I am mourning the dead with pain. The material damages will be recovered. Ukraine is with you, dear residents of Dnipropetrovsk," the President Viktor Yushchenko said, the president's press office reported.


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