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MOSCOW, March 19. /TASS/. Lights of Moscow’s Kremlin and other landmarks were turned off at 8.30 p.m. Moscow time (5.30 p.m. UTC) to join the Earth Hour event, which was started with a moment of silence commemorating those who died in the plane crash in Rostov-on-Don on Saturday morning.
Festivities planned to be held in central Moscow, in Red Square and Tverskaya Street, have been canceled. Over 100 other towns and cities that had joined Earth Hour have followed suit.
"The event aims to remind that natural riches and our resources are going to be exhausted and that human life is terminal," Natural Resources and Environment Minister Sergey Donskoi told a briefing held before Earth Hour.
"I would like to offer condolences to the families and loved ones of those who were aboard the plane," he went on to say.
Moscow switched off the external lights of more than 1,000 buildings, including the Christ the Savior Cathedral, Luzhniki stadium, Ostankino television tower, World Trade Center, Moscow Zoo, Moscow City skyscrapers, railway stations, hotels and museums.
Earth Hour is an international event during which the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) calls on organizations and individuals to turn off non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol for their commitment to the planet. Illumination of well-known buildings and memorials worldwide is turned off during that period.
The event was first started in Sydney, Australia in 2007.
Moscow joined the Earth Hour event in 2009. In 2013, the external lights of the Moscow Kremlin, as well as another 100 buildings, were turned off for the first time. In 2014, some 400 buildings went dark for an hour in the Russian capital.
In 2015, the event involved 172 countries and over 2 billion people. In Russia, 20 million people supported Earth Hour last year.
Moscow residents have switched off the lights and household devices in their flats and are spending the evening with candles lit. Many of them are uploading photos on social networking sites.
The Russian capital is expected to save 22.5 MW during this hour, the authorities said.