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Report: Elections in Chechnya Marred By Explosion

Grozny, July 2 (RFE/RL) -- Itar-Tass news agency reports that presidential elections in Chechnya, which started ahead of time today, were marred by an explosion at a polling station.

A Tass reporter in the capital Grozny says the explosion went off early this morning in front of a polling station not far from the building that houses the pro-Moscow government. The reporter said several people were injured. The report could not be independently confirmed.

The agency reports that voting is underway in other parts of Chechnya. Tass quotes Abdulkerim Arsakhanov, chairman of Chechnya's Central Electoral Commission, as saying more than 500 voters went to the polls in this morning.

The elections in the war-torn republic started a day earlier than elsewhere in Russia to give voters more time to get to the polls.

Meanwhile, Tass also reports that three Russian troops were killed and 12 wounded in attacks during the past 24 hours. Again, this was not independently confirmed. Russian and Chechen peace negotiators yesterday reportedly failed to reach an agreement on prisoner exchanges and demilitarization.