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27 injured in balsts in Ukraine

27.04.12 20:54

Four blasts rocked an eastern Ukrainian city on Friday, injuring 27 people, including 9 teenagers, in what authorities believed was a militant attack.

Top law enforcement officials rushed to Dnipropetrovsk, 400 kilometres (250 miles) southeast of Kiev, to investigate but there was no immediate claim of responsibility. 

The violence undermined Ukraine`s security just a little over a month before it co-hosts the European soccer championships in June.

Ukraine has not been afflicted with political terrorism but there have been previous explosions connected to criminal extortion.

The opposition party led by jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, however, suggested that the government of President Viktor Yanukovych may have organised the blasts in order to deflect the world`s attention from Tymoshenko`s imprisonment and reported abuse in prison.

The president`s office declined to comment on the opposition charges.

The first of four explosions Friday in Dnipropetrovsk rocked a tram stop shortly before noon, injuring 13 people, said Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Yulia Yershova. 

The bomb was planted in a garbage bin.

The second bomb, also planted in a garbage bin, went off about 40 minutes later near a movie theatre and a trade school, injuring two adults and nine teenagers. 

A third blast in the city centre wounded three people and a fourth, also downtown, caused no casualties. 

In a previous attack in January 2011, two pre-dawn explosions outside a coal mining company office and a shopping centre in the Ukrainian city of Makiyivka caused no casualties. 

Authorities then received letters demanding money in exchange for an end to the blasts. The perpetrators were arrested and sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

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