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Soldier deserts in Moscow, reportedly shoots man to death

April 13, 1997

MOSCOW (AP) _ Police sealed off a district of Moscow after an army private deserted his unit Sunday and was suspected of fatally shooting a man on the street, Russian news agencies reported.

Police told the Interfax news agency that officers surrounded the Luzhniki district near the city’s biggest stadium and street market after the deserter shot a man who was walking his dog early Sunday.

A police spokesman reached by telephone refused to comment.

The ITAR-Tass news agency said the man was armed with six full magazines of ammunition for his Kalashnikov.

The Russian military has been crippled by poor morale and a lack of funding since the Soviet Union collapsed. Some recent shootings involving soldiers also have been blamed on severe hazing, a chronic problem for young recruits.

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