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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Explosion rocks Russian polling station

A 64-year-old woman set off a large firecracker, according to media reports

An explosion has taken place at a polling station in the city of Perm in central Russia, according to a local media report citing the region’s Ministry of Territorial Security.

According to reports, the blast took place late on Sunday, the final day of Russia’s three-day nationwide presidential vote. It was caused by a large firecracker, set off by a 64-year-old woman in the polling station’s restroom. The identity of the perpetrator has not been disclosed, but reports note that she sustained an injury to her arm and has been hospitalized. There have been no reports of other injuries so far.

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Eyewitnesses noted that the woman had been talking to someone on the phone prior to the explosion, but it is unclear whether the phone call was connected to the incident. Reports note that the woman came to the station with a package, but was cleared by the security guard to go inside.

Around 50 people were evacuated from the building where the blast took place; police and emergency services have been called to the site.

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Since the start of the election this past Friday, Russian authorities have reported dozens of attempts in various regions to sabotage the voting process. The incidents range from people intentionally damaging ballots to vandalism and explosive devices targeting polling stations.

Some of the detained perpetrators have reportedly said that they were instructed to commit the provocations by phone scammers, who claimed to have broken into their bank accounts and forced the people to carry out attacks to get their money back.

Four candidates are competing in this year’s election: incumbent President Vladimir Putin, who is seeking a fifth term in office; Nikolay Kharitonov from the Communist Party; Vladislav Davankov of the New People Party; and Leonid Slutsky of the Liberal Democrats. The election has already clocked a record-high voter turnout, which topped 73% as of 8:30pm Moscow time, according to data from Russia’s Central Election Commission.