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Russia: Yeltsin Says Country Faces Terrorist Threat

Moscow, 13 September 1999 (RFE/RL) - President Boris Yeltsin today said Russia faces a major terrorist threat after a blast in Moscow overnight killed at least 34 people. In a televised address, Yeltsin urged Russians to remain calm and unite in face of the threat. He did not say who or what was behind the threat. The most recent blast, which destroyed an eight-story apartment building in the south of the capital early today, was the fourth to rock Russia in the past weeks. Police have appealed to the public for help in finding a man they believe was linked to today's explosion and a similar blast last week in another Moscow apartment building.

At least 150 people were killed in the three previous explosions, two in Moscow and one in the Dagestani city of Buinaksk. Russian authorities have blamed the blasts on Islamic militants fighting Russian control in the North Caucasus.

Earlier today, Yeltsin ordered extra security measures in Russian cities and at sensitive sites across Russia.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who left a summit in New Zealand to return to Moscow, called last night's bombing a "clear terrorist act" and said unspecified "super-tough" measures will be taken to find those responsible for the blasts. But in a statement issued by his office in Moscow, Putin said he saw no need for imposing a national state of emergency.