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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Regional Official Killed in Car Blast

A Moscow region official and his wife were killed late Sunday when their car was blown up near the town of Khimki just outside the capital, a regional police spokesman said Monday.

The explosion that killed 38-year-old Vladimir Sashchikhin, head of the Moscow region's Ozyory district, was caused by a remote-control device attached to the bottom of his car, Interfax quoted regional police sources as saying. Sashchikhin's driver and bodyguard escaped with mild injuries, media reported.

Earlier reports had cited witnesses as saying the blast had come from a grenade launcher, apparently from a Zhiguli sedan that pulled up alongside Sashchikhin's car as it headed south on Leningradskoye Shosse.

The Moscow region police spokesman declined to comment on the cause of the blast, saying it was still under investigation. Both police and regional officials declined to speculate about possible motives for the killing.

Throughout the 1990s, Sashchikhin worked in the commercial sector.

Prior to becoming head of the Ozyory district -- some 160 kilometers southeast of Moscow -- in January 2000, Sashchikhin was general director of a company called Karavella, which traded in food and beverages, an official with the Ozyory administration said in a telephone interview.

In 1999, Sashchikhin ran for the State Duma on the ticket of the Russian Socialist Party headed by pharmaceuticals and vodka tycoon Vladimir Bryntsalov, but failed to win a seat, Gazeta.ru reported. The Ozyory official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he could not confirm that report.

The official did confirm press reports that one of the projects launched under Sashchikhin was the construction of a kilometers-long system of above-ground cables to be used for transporting bricks from a regional brick factory to Moscow. Gazeta.ru reported that, for now, only an experimental 150-meter segment of the expensive system has been built.