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Ukraine's Coal Mining Rescue Service Chief Arrested

Rescue workers leave the Zasyadko mine in Donetsk on December 1, 2007.
KYIV -- The Ukrainian Prosecutor-General's Office has launched an investigation into the activities of the country's Coal Mining Rescue Service, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

The service's chief, Serhiy Smolanov, was detained on November 11 and charged with violating safety regulations in Ukrainian mines in the eastern region of Donetsk.

The prosecutor-general's press service informed journalists on November 15 that a criminal case against Smolanov was officially launched on November 10. Kyiv's Pechera district court sanctioned Smolanov's arrest two days later.

According to the prosecutor-general's press service, a violation of safety regulations by the Coal Mining Rescue Service in 2007 led to an accident during rescue operations at the Zasyadko mine in the Donetsk region that killed five rescue workers and injured more than 100 others.

A three-year investigation found Smolanov was responsible for the violations.

A total of 101 miners and five rescue workers died in three separate explosions at the Zasyadko mine on November 18 and December 1-2, 2007.

Read more in Ukrainian here