TITLE=RUSSIA - EXPLOSION UPDATE (L)
///// ED'S: PLEASE UPDATE CASUALTY NUMBERS WITH LATEST
INTRO: Rescue workers are searching for survivors
after an explosion shattered an apartment building in
southern Russia, killing at least 17-people, and
injuring 150. Correspondent Eve Conant in Moscow
reports that this is the fourth major explosion to hit
Russia in two-weeks.
TEXT: Another explosion has hit a Russian apartment
block, this time in the southern Russian city of
Volgodonsk, near the volatile Caucasus region.
Security officials say traces of explosives were found
near the site.
Spokesman for the Rostov region Emergencies Ministry,
Valery Zakharov, says officials believe the blast
originated from a vehicle parked between the building
and a police station next door.
/// ACT ZAKHAROV IN RUSSIAN IN FULL AND
FADE UNDER ///
He says a truck parked between the two buildings
exploded, destroying the front of the apartment block.
Security officials say the facade of the building was
destroyed, and as many as 20 nearby buildings were
damaged. They say a greater tragedy may have been
averted because the explosion took place outside the
building, which had been examined and secured one-day
before as part of a nationwide security operation.
Russia's Emergency Situations Minister, Sergey Shoigu,
says investigators are exploring all possible sources
for the blast. No one has claimed responsibility for
the bomb but Federal Security Services spokesman
Alexander Zdanovich says it is a clear case of
/// ACT ZDANOVICH IN RUSSIAN IN FULL AND
FADE UNDER. ///
He says -- there is no doubt this was a terrorist act,
all these explosions are links in the same chain.
This apartment block explosion follows three other
major blasts in Russia, one in Dagestan where Islamic
militants have been fighting Russian troops, and two
others in Moscow. All explosions took place at night,
and more than 270-people died in those three attacks.
Police forces have been conducting massive security
sweeps in Moscow and other large cities, checking for
explosives and rounding up suspects.
Russian authorities have linked the previous blasts to
Islamic militants in Chechnya and Dagestan, but have
produced little evidence to prove their assertions.
Chechen militant leaders have denied involvement in
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says Russians have been
turned into -- second-class citizens in their own
///ACT PUTIN IN RUSSIAN IN FULL AND FADE
He says -- now that we realize the danger facing us we
must mobilize all forces and resources to strangle
this evil at its root.
President Boris Yeltsin said Thursday that Russia was
working to tighten the border around Chechnya and that
all transport links with the breakaway region should
be cut. Interior Ministry sources said Thursday that
more than one-thousand militants were gathering in
Chechnya near the border with Dagestan. The Interfax
news agency quotes Mr. Yeltsin as saying -- Russia has
the strength and resources to do away with terrorism.
16-Sep-1999 07:39 AM EDT (16-Sep-1999 1139 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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