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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sevastopol Mayor Injured in Car Blast

SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine -- The mayor of the city of Sevastopol was injured Thursday when a blast ripped through his car in what police said appeared to be an assassination attempt.

Viktor Semyonov was on his way home for lunch and his driver had just parked the car when a bomb went off, a local police spokesman said.

Preliminary investigation indicated the explosive was placed on the ground beneath the parking spot. The spokesman, who would not give his name, didn't say what kind of explosive was used.

Details of Semyonov's injuries were unavailable. The driver was seriously injured, said the spokesman. He said it appeared to be a planned attack on the mayor. Both Semyonov and the driver are in a local hospital in Sevastopol, a port city of 450,000 people on the Crimean peninsula.

The city has historically been the base for the Russian and later Soviet Black Sea Fleet, but is on Ukrainian territory. Its population is still 70 percent Russian.

Russia and Ukraine have argued over the fleet and the city since the 1991 Soviet collapse made them distinct countries.

A former basketball star, Semyonov was elected on a largely pro-Russian platform and has close ties with Moscow, but has also been cultivating his connections in Kiev recently.

Crime has soared throughout Crimea in recent years, especially among local business rivals, while the economy has atrophied.