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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Authorities Dispute Cossack Ethnic Clash

Police are dismissing reports of ethnic clashes in a Stavropol region town following the shooting of a Cossack leader.

Andrei Khanin was shot in the head Tuesday in Novoaleksandrovsk. He died Saturday.

Media reported that there were clashes between Cossacks and Georgians and Armenians in the wake of the shooting.

Now, Ekho Moskvy radio reported, police and local authorities say the reports are not true.

State Duma Deputy Sergei Ivanov, not to be confused with the former defense minister and current first deputy prime minister, asked the Duma's Security Committee on Friday to investigate reports of the clashes, which he compared to the disturbances in Kondopoga last year, Ekho Moskvy reported.

Two people were killed in interethnic clashes in the Karelian town of Kondopoga in September.

Alexander Belov, head of the ultranationalist Movement Against Illegal Immigration, or DPNA, told Novy Region on Friday that kiosks belonging to Georgians and Armenians were set on fire in the clashes in Novoaleksandrovsk. Novy Region further reported that the Federal Security Service imposed a ban on any media reports on the clashes.

The DPNA, among others, was accused of stirring ethnic tensions in Kondopoga.

Police have arrested a 24-year-old man in connection with Khanin's shooting.

The local prosecutor's office said the shooting was tied to a personal grudge and was not racially motivated, RIA-Novosti reported.

Mikhail Serkov, another Cossack leader from the Stavropol region, told RIA-Novosti on Saturday that Khanin's death might be connected to his investigation into a local factory that was releasing waste into a local river.

"Khanin received threats after [he began investigating]," Serkov said.