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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Nationalists Blamed in Blast

First Deputy Prosecutor General Alexander Bastrykin said nationalists were the most likely culprits in a bombing which derailed a train traveling from Moscow to St. Petersburg on Aug. 13, Interfax reported Thursday.

"The most serious [line of inquiry] is a terrorist attack by nationalist youth groups from Moscow or St. Petersburg," Bastrykin said in an interview to be published in Rossiiskaya Gazeta on Friday.

Investigators, however, are not ruling out the possibility that the bombing was linked to Chechen insurgents or organized crime, he said.

Meanwhile, a St. Petersburg anarchist detained this week in connection with the blast has gone on a hunger strike, Ekho Moskvy reported Thursday. Two anarchists and an ethnic Chechen have been detained on suspicion of involvement in the blast. (Reuters, MT)

Crash Grounds Bombers

The Air Force on Thursday ordered its fleet of Su-24 bombers grounded after one of the planes crashed.

Air Force spokesman Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky said the decision was made after a preliminary investigation indicated that the plane crashed due to technical problems rather than pilot error.

The crash took place Thursday in the Khabarovsk region while the plane was on a training run. Both pilots reportedly ejected safely. (AP)

Kirkorov Watch Loses Value

A court heard expert testimony on Thursday that a watch stolen from pop singer Filipp Kirkorov last year was worth about $20,000, and not the $120,000 that Kirkorov claimed in the police report filled out at the time of the theft, RIA-Novosti reported.

Lilia Mukhomadeyeva, 33, is on trial in Novosibirsk for stealing the watch from Kirkorov's make-up room during a show there in 2006.

Kirkorov's father saw her loitering near the room and described her to police, who detained her the next day. The watch, a gold Breguet, was anonymously sent to the police two months later.

Mukhomadeyeva, who faces 10 years in prison if convicted of theft, maintains her innocence.

Kirkorov insisted Thursday that the watch was worth what he had claimed at the time it was stolen. (MT)

Last-Ditch Bid on Kosovo

PRISTINA, Serbia -- A Russian diplomat acknowledged Thursday that getting Serbs and Albanians to compromise on Kosovo in a new round of talks would be "unbelievably difficult."

But Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, Moscow's representative in a troika of diplomats making a last-ditch bid to break the deadlock over Serbia's breakaway province, insisted that the new talks be open-ended and not subject to a Dec. 10 deadline favored by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations.

The new talks, which Moscow forced on the West, get under way in Vienna next week. (Reuters)