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Archive for Saturday, October 4, 2008

Blast kills 7 Russian soldiers in S. Ossetia

October 4, 2008

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— A car exploded Friday, killing seven soldiers outside Russia's military headquarters in South Ossetia, and Russian authorities charged it was a terrorist bombing meant to wreck the tense cease-fire that ended the war with Georgia.

Georgia's Interior Ministry blamed Russia, accusing it of arranging the blast to provide a pretext for delaying next week's scheduled withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgian territory around South Ossetia and another Kremlin-backed separatist region, Abkhazia.

The explosion, which the Russian military said also wounded eight Russian soldiers, was the deadliest single incident reported in South Ossetia since Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war over the breakaway region in August.

Under the Western-backed truce, European Union monitors have begun replacing Russian troops in the buffer zone ringing South Ossetia and the withdrawal is supposed to be completed by Oct. 11.

The Kremlin declined to comment on whether the carnage might affect the pullout timetable under its truce with this former Soviet republic.

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