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Kazakhstan: Moscow Asked To Halt Missile Tests Near Border

Almaty, 24 April (RFE/RL) - Kazakh Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrisov said today his country is asking Russia to temporarily halt missile tests from a military site near the two countries' border after a missile accidentally struck Kazakh territory on Friday. Idrisov said it was a lucky coincidence the Strizh-3 rocket launched from Russia's Ashuluk testing range landed in an uninhabited area. The missile was carrying an explosive charge and left a crater two meters deep and nearly five meters wide. Idrisov said a note is being sent to the Russian Embassy in Almaty asking for a suspension of launches until an investigation determines why the missile went astray.

Last year two Russian Proton rockets exploded moments after lift-off from the Baikonur cosmodrome located in Kazakhstan. Large fragments of the rockets showered down on Kazakhstan but caused no casualties.