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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Teenager Admits to Over 30 Murders

A teenager studying to paint icons has claimed involvement in more than 30 murders in Moscow, law enforcement sources said.

There were conflicting reports, however, on the number of victims and the motives for the crimes.

Suspect Artur Ryno, 18, has claimed responsibility for 37 racially motivated murders that he said he committed to "clean up the city," Vremya Novostei reported Monday.

Ryno, a student at an icon painting school, has told investigators that he began his murder spree on Aug. 21, the same day a bomb killed 13 people at Moscow's Cherkizovsky market, the report said.

On that day, Ryno said, he and a group of skinheads provoked a fight with a group of people from Central Asia, during which he stabbed one of the migrants to death, the report said.

But a law enforcement source told Regnum.ru that Ryno had admitted his involvement in 32 murders -- not 37 -- and that the presumed motive was robbery. The victims were robbed of money and mobile phones, the source said.

City prosecutor's office spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said she could not immediately comment on the reports and that details on the investigation would be available "sometime next week."

Ryno and fellow student Pavel Skachayevsky, 18, were arrested last month on suspicion of killing Armenian businessman Karen Abramyan. Abramyan, 46, was stabbed 20 times on the evening of April 16 in southwest Moscow and died in the hospital.

Ryno and Skachayevsky were detained on a tram with their clothes covered in blood and in possession of a bloody knife, and the crime was captured on a surveillance camera.

Ryno confessed to a string of racially motivated murders after being shown the surveillance footage, while Skachayevsky had denied any wrongdoing, Vremya Novostei reported.

The night before Abramyan's murder, Khairullo Sadykov, 26, a street sweeper from Tajikistan, was stabbed 35 times outside an apartment building in eastern Moscow. Ryno confessed to Sadykov's murder too, the report said.

Most, if not all of Ryno's and Sadykov's victims were foreigners and were stabbed at least 20 times to delay the body identification process, it said.

Last year, 53 people were killed and 460 others were injured in apparent hate crimes, according to the Sova center.