Russian soldier killed in fire near nuclear site: official

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A member of the Russian armed forces has been killed fighting wildfires around a major nuclear research centre in the town of Sarov, the defence ministry said on Tuesday.

"A burning tree fell on the soldier. He died of cranial trauma on the way to the hospital," defence ministry spokesman Vasily Panchenkov told the Interfax news agency.

Russia has deployed hundreds of firefighters and soldiers to douse the fires around Sarov, a town 500 kilometres east of Moscow which houses the country's main nuclear research facility and is still closed to foreigners.

Before the latest fatality, which took place on Monday, the death toll from the worst wildfires in Russia's history had stood at 52. The authorities have yet to publish an updated overall toll.

© 2010 AFP

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