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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Abramov Injured in Moscow Car Crash

APSergei Abramov
Chechen Prime Minister Sergei Abramov was seriously injured in a car accident near Moscow, but his aide said Sunday that he was making phone calls from his hospital bed and in good spirits.

The crash late Thursday raised concerns about a possible assassination attempt, but Chechen officials later insisted it was an accident.

Abramov is the second most senior official in Chechnya, which is to hold parliamentary elections next Sunday. First Deputy Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov took over Abramov's duties temporarily.

The accident occurred just before 11 p.m. Thursday when the car in which Abramov was traveling collided with a truck at the intersection of Uspenskoye Shosse and Mozhaiskoye Shosse, west of Moscow. Kommersant reported Saturday that a heavy MAZ truck with a load of sand ran into the side of Abramov's armored Mercedes.

Chechen President Alu Alkhanov ruled out the possibility of an assassination attempt on Abramov, who was traveling to Vnukovo Airport to fly back to Chechnya. "According to my information, there was no assassination attempt," Itar-Tass quoted Alkhanov as saying Friday.

Abramov aide Igor Tarasov, who told journalists in Grozny early in the day that it was too early to say whether the crash was a deliberate attack or an accident, later on Friday said he was convinced foul play could be ruled out. "It was just an accident, it could happen to any of us," he said on NTV television.

Channel One television cited doctors as saying that the fact that Abramov's car was armor-plated had protected him from more life-threatening injuries.

Doctors in a Moscow hospital operated on Abramov's kidney and lung, a spokesman for the Chechen administration in Grozny, Salavi Visargov, said. Abramov's life was not in danger, but he would need several weeks to recover, Chechen Health Minister Shakhid Akhmadov was quoted as saying Friday by Interfax.

Another Abramov aide, Tamerlan Mingayev, who was with him in the hospital, said Sunday that the Chechen prime minister was on the road to recovery.

"His condition is very good. He's had breakfast. Currently, he is watching television, joking and talking," Mingayev said, RIA-Novosti reported.

Doctors were not allowing Abramov to get out of bed, but he was discussing issues with his Cabinet by telephone, including the agenda of Tuesday's Cabinet meeting, Mingayev said.

(AP, MT)