Dagestan blast was simply disposal of munitions, officials say
October 22, 1999
CNN's Steve Harrigan in Moscow reported that the Dagestani Interior Ministry said the blast was a controlled military exercise exploding old ordnance. The report could not be immediately confirmed.
Kaspiisk is in the Russian region of Dagestan, which borders the rebellious Chechnya, where Russian forces are fighting with Islamic rebels who twice this summer invaded Dagestan.
Chechen militants have threatened retaliatory attacks for the Russian offensive, which began at the end of September.
The Chechens say a Russian rocket attack Thursday killed scores of civilians in a Grozny marketplace, but Russian officials disputed the claim while offering contradictory explanations of the explosion.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Russia had nothing to do with the attack -- that it was in fact the result of a clash between rival Chechen militant groups -- while an army spokesman in the region said Russia had attacked an "arms bazaar" in Grozny and no civilians were hit.
Russia also blames the rebels for a series of bombings in Russia that killed 300 people. One of those explosions killed dozens in a Dagestan apartment building.
The rebels deny responsibility for any of the blasts.
Yeltsin appeals for calm, increases security after bombs
Russian Government Internet Network
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