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Several Injured In Moscow As Taxi Strikes Pedestrians Near Red Square


An ambulance is parked near a damaged taxi, which ran into crowds of people in Moscow on June 16.
An ambulance is parked near a damaged taxi, which ran into crowds of people in Moscow on June 16.

A taxi plowed into a crowd of pedestrians in central Moscow on June 16, injuring several people, including soccer fans from Mexico supporting their national team in soccer's World Cup that Russia is hosting.

Moscow authorities said the taxi driver, identified as a man with a Kyrgyz driver’s license, lost control of his vehicle and injured at least seven people when the taxi drove onto a sidewalk near Red Square, a popular tourist destination.

Video of the incident posted on social media shows the car veering out of standstill traffic and accelerating onto the sidewalk, mowing down pedestrians. The driver then flees the car as bystanders attempt to apprehend him.

Moscow city police said in a statement that the "preliminary cause" of the accident was the driver's inability to control the vehicle.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin also said on Twitter that the driver "lost control" of the car in what he called an "unpleasant incident." Sobyanin added that he was overseeing authorities' response.

No fatalities were reported, but seven people sought medical assistance, police said. Moscow city health officials put that number at eight.

Police said that the driver had been detained and that they had opened a criminal case in connection with traffic violations.

City traffic authorities posted a photograph of what they said was the driver's Kyrgyz driver's license showing that he is a 28-year-old native of the Central Asian nation. The driver said the incident was an accident, traffic authorities said in a subsequent tweet.

A video published by the police showed the driver saying he had attempted to brake but accidentally hit the car's accelerator instead.

"I regret it very much...I wanted to go home afterwards, to have a sleep," he said.

The Kyrgyz Embassy in Moscow told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that it was following the matter.

Those injured in the June 16 incident, which occurred on the third day of the World Cup under way in Russia, included two Mexican citizens, the Mexican Embassy in the Russian capital said.

The embassy said that the two Mexicans suffered "minor injuries" and were in stable condition.

Russia's state-run TASS news agency, citing a source with the emergency services, said that two Mexicans, two Russians, and one Ukrainian citizen were hospitalized following the incident.

Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency said that two citizens of Azerbaijan were also among the injured.

Mexico is set to play Germany on June 17 in their first World Cup match at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. Thousands of fans from Mexico have traveled to Moscow for the tournament, which is being held in 11 Russian cities and runs through July 15.

Russian authorities have pledged to stage a safe World Cup. In central Moscow, authorities have set up concrete blockades at entrances to pedestrian zones after a string of incidents in European cities in which pedestrians were mowed down by vehicles.

With reporting by Reuters, TASS, and Interfax
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