5 Suspected Skinheads Held in Raids

Five members of a neo-Nazi youth group connected to at least three murders have been arrested in southeast Moscow, police said Wednesday.

The suspects were arrested on Tuesday in police raids of the apartments where they lived in the district, city police spokeswoman Tatyana Korolyova said.

She declined to give the names or the ages of the suspects, describing them only as "juveniles operating out of their homes."

"We can only confirm their connection with three murders, although they have severely beaten two other people, who may die," Korolyova said.

The police spokeswoman declined to give details of the murders in which the suspects are believed to have been involved.

The arrests came just two days after Alexei Krylov, 16, a member of an anti-fascist group, was stabbed to death by a mob of young men after attending a punk concert with his friends at the Art Garbage club.

The attackers have been linked to skinhead groups.

There have been 33 racist murders and another 101 people severely injured in hate crimes across Russia so far this year, the Sova Center, which tracks hate crimes, said Wednesday.

"In the whole of last year, 72 people died as a result of attacks by skinheads, and in the less than three full months of 2008 we've already had 33," Sova Center head Galina Kozhevnikova said, Interfax reported.

"The level of violence in rising," she said.