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Saturday, 22 April, 2000, 18:28 GMT 19:28 UK
Missile blasts Ukraine flats
Building after the explosion
Three people died in the explosion
Three people have been killed in a blast at a block of flats in the Ukraine, which government officials say was caused by a stray surface-to-surface missile.

The Ukrainian defence ministry has confirmed that it was carrying out missile tests at the time of the explosion, but has not so far accepted responsibility.

The blast, which injured five people, occurred on Thursday and caused damage on virtually every floor of a nine-storey block in the town of Brovary, near the capital, Kiev.

There was initial speculation that the blast may have been caused by a bomb.

But reports from the scene say emergency services have found fragments of a missile in the debris, and officials from the interior ministry have been quoted as saying the damage was the result of a stray missile.

Investigation

The Ukrainian defence ministry has so far refused to confirm that it was one of its weapons.

A spokesman said that if experts at the site confirmed that it was a missile which caused the explosion, it would take responsibility, but that the results of an investigation into the blast will not be known until early next week.

The ministry has said that it did launch a test missile from a military site, about 100km (65 miles) from the scene, about seven minutes before the explosion, but insisted the weapon had hit its intended target within the test area.

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