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Two Killed In Russian Space Center Accident

File photo of the launch of a "Soyuz-2.16" rocket from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in 2011.
Two soldiers died and three others received toxic burns on November 12 during a chemical spill at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northwestern Russia.

A Russian Defense Ministry official said the accident occurred while the men were cleaning a nitrogen fuel tank. The ministry added that the accident was caused "by the officers' failure to follow safety procedures."

The cosmodrome -- which is about 800 kilometers north of Moscow -- was built during the Soviet era and is now Russia's only alternative to the Baikonur Cosmodrome that Moscow leases from Kazakhstan.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and AFP