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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Police Detain Football Fans Over Weekend Murders

A number of teenage suspects have been detained over a wave of violence last weekend that left two dark-skinned people dead and three severely injured, a city police spokesman said Thursday.

City prosecutors on Wednesday classified the attacks as racially motivated after a police search of the suspects' homes turned up evidence including mobile phone video footage of the attacks and "extremist literature," spokesman Viktor Biryukov said.

The suspects, aged 13 to 15, face charges of deliberately causing bodily harm, inciting ethnic hatred, and murder, Biryukov said. He said he did not know exactly how many had been arrested.

If convicted, the teens face fines or up to six years in juvenile detention.

Police spokesman Yevgeny Gildeyev had earlier denied the attacks were ethnically motivated, despite the fact that all five victims were dark-skinned. Dozens of teenagers took to the streets to celebrate a win by the Spartak Moscow football team Saturday. They got drunk and went looking for foreigners to attack in southern Moscow, Biryukov said.

Two men -- one ethnic Armenian and the other from Sakha, although initially identified as being a native of Buryatia -- were stabbed and beaten to death. Another three men, from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, were left paralyzed for life as a result of knife wounds, Vremya Novostei reported.

The teenagers ignited a flare in the chest of their first victim, tournament chess player and Sakha native Sergei Nikolayev, Biryukov said. "Some of them denied involvement, but extremist brochures, and even video of the attacks in which their friends are clearly visible, were found in their apartments," he said.

The ethnic Armenian, music student Ovanes Ayrumyan, was killed in a similar attack as he exited a metro station Saturday. The suspects were likely to be charged Friday, the newspaper said.