Russian strongman Putin weeps over friend’s coffin

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Russian strongman Putin weeps over friend's coffin

A grief-stricken Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown a rare public display of emotion as he wept over the coffin of his close friend.

The Russian strongman attended the funeral of his pal and emergency situations minister Yevgeny Zinichev in Moscow on Friday.

Zinichev, 55, died Wednesday while trying to save a person’s life during Arctic exercise drills, Russia’s emergency situations ministry said.

During the funeral, an emotional Putin could be seen repeatedly resting his head against his friend’s open coffin.

At one point, he also reached into the coffin and appeared to touch Zinichev’s body.

Putin sat beside Zinichev’s widow Natalya during the service and could be seen comforting her throughout.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, sits with Natalia Zinicheva, widow of Russia's Emergency Situations Minister Yevgeny Zinichev, who died in the line of duty during inter-agency exercises to protect the Arctic zone from emergency situations, while saving a person's life.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, sits with Natalia Zinicheva, widow of Russia’s Emergency Situations Minister Yevgeny Zinichev, who died in the line of duty.
Alexei Nikolsky/Pool Photo via AP
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a farewell ceremony for Russia's Emergency Situations Minister Yevgeny Zinichev.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a farewell ceremony for Russia’s Emergency Situations Minister Yevgeny Zinichev.
Alexei Nikolsky/Pool Photo via AP

He reached over at one point to clutch her hand as she wept.

Zinichev became the head of Russia’s emergency situations ministry in 2018.  Before that, he spent several years as part of Putin’s security detail.

The ministry issued a statement Wednesday confirming Zinichev’s death but did not provide details on where or how he died.

Russian President Vladimir Putin crosses himself during a farewell ceremony for Russia's Emergency Situations Minister Yevgeny Zinichev.
Russian President Vladimir Putin crosses himself during a farewell ceremony for Russia’s Emergency Situations Minister Yevgeny Zinichev.
Alexei Nikolsky/Pool Photo via AP

They only said he’d been trying to save film director Alexander Melnik who had come to the site of large-scale drills that Zinichev had opened on Tuesday in the Russian Arctic.

Russia’s RBC news site reported that Zinichev jumped into the water after a cameraman slipped and fell.

With Post wires

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