Senior Russian Minister Dies During Drill

MOSTOVSKY, Russian Federation — During a drill in Russia’s Far North on Wednesday, an official in the government died after he dived from a cliff to save a well-known film director who had fallen into the water, officials said.

According to a statement from his ministry, emergency situations minister Yevgeny N. Zinichev “was tragically killed while on duty, while participating in interagency exercises meant to safeguard the Arctic zone from emergencies, as he fought to save a person’s life.”

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Zinichev dove into the ocean when the city of Norilsk’s director, Aleksandr Melnik, slipped and fell off a cliff, the ministry’s press staff said to local media. Mr. Melnik’s fate was unknown at the time.

He was in charge of the country’s reaction to natural and man-made disasters, including as the forest fires raging in Siberia, as minister of emergencies.

In Russia, this post has a lot of clout. A close friend and confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sergei K. Shoigu served as its previous holder before being appointed to his current position as defence minister.

As of 2006, Mr. Zinichev, who was 55 years old, had been a member of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal security team since 1987.

Russia’s Federal Security Service, or F.S.B, is the country’s domestic intelligence organisation, and he served as deputy head of the agency from 2016 to 2018. As a member of Russia’s Security Council, he served as an emergency minister in May 2018.