Four dead after Moscow bus plows into underpass

Rescuers work at the scene of a bus crash in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Dec. 25, 2017. (AP)
Updated 25 December 2017

Four dead after Moscow bus plows into underpass

MOSCOW: Four people were killed Monday when a Moscow bus plowed into a pedestrian underpass in the west of the city, officials said.
It was not immediately clear what caused the accident as authorities said they were looking into several possibilities, including a technical malfunction.
Authorities did not mention terrorism as a possible cause.
“Nine people are currently in the city’s clinics... four people died on the spot,” the Moscow city hall said in a statement on the website.
Police were also giving the figure of four killed, revised down from previous statements which said the accident caused five deaths.
Footage broadcast on national television showed the bus driving onto the pavement and then down the stairs of the underpass, running over several pedestrians before coming to a stop.
Moscow police said in a statement they were looking into two possible causes — the driver losing control of the vehicle and a technical problem with the bus.
“The driver of the bus began movement and then changed his trajectory, which resulted in the bus going down into the pedestrian underpass,” the statement said.
“The driver has been detained. Police employees are working with him,” the statement said.
“According to the driver, the bus was parked and suddenly began to move by itself,” said a statement by the Russian Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes.
“Despite his attempts to stop the bus, the breaking system did not work and the bus continued moving,” it said.
Investigators said they were questioning witnesses and plan to examine vehicle documentation and order medical examination of the driver.
The accident happened around 3 p.m. (1200 GMT) near Moscow’s Slavyansky Boulevard metro station, a prestigious residential area near one of the capital’s main avenues.
Sirens were blaring around the metro station, with authorities preparing to pull the bus out of the underpass, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.
The underpass and surrounding area were cordoned off and several black body bags could be seen on the pavement, partially covered with falling snow.
The emergencies ministry said helicopters had been dispatched to the scene to help evacuate the victims.
“There are dead and wounded,” tweeted Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin. “We are providing emergency aid,” he said, offering condolences to families of the victims.
Sobyanin also visited the scene, telling journalists he had ordered a full inspection of the entire Moscow bus fleet.


US moves troops, tanks into Lithuania in message to Russia

Updated 21 min 4 sec ago

US moves troops, tanks into Lithuania in message to Russia

  • Dozens of Abrams tanks and Bradley armored vehicles arrived by railway at the army training area in Pabrade
  • The alliance has previously installed similar battalions in Poland and Baltic states Estonia and Latvia as tripwires against possible Russian adventurism in the region

VILNIUS: The United States on Monday began deploying a battalion of troops and dozens of tanks to Lithuania for an unprecedented six-month rotation, a move sought by the Baltic EU and NATO state to deter neighboring Russia.
Dozens of Abrams tanks and Bradley armored vehicles arrived by railway at the army training area in Pabrade.
Lithuania’s Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis said the deployment of some 500 US troops scheduled to stay through the winter proves that a US military presence on NATO’s eastern flank “is no longer a taboo.”
“First and foremost, it is a message to Lithuania and neighboring NATO states that allies are together with us,” the minister told AFP.
“And it is also a message to Russia that the US is engaged, and it is an additional deterrence element,” he added.
Ben Hodges, the former commander of US Army forces in Europe, said the US deployment was a “manifestation of American commitment to continued deterrence along NATO’s eastern flank,” at the time when US was pulling American troops out of Syria and abandoning its Kurdish allies.
“Nobody, including the Russians, should be confused by the Americans’ commitment to NATO despite what was I think a mistake of pulling out of Syria,” Hodges told AFP via telephone.
Two years ago, NATO deployed a German-led multinational battalion of around 1,000 troops to Lithuania, an EU and NATO nation of 2,8 million people.
The alliance installed similar battalions in Poland and Baltic states Estonia and Latvia as tripwires against possible Russian adventurism in the region after Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
The entire region had been dominated by the Soviet Union for more than 40 years after World War II.