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3 Dec, 2007 16:25

Ukraine mine blast kills five: President demands closure

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has demanded the closure of the notorious Zasyadko coal mine after the third explosion there in just two weeks. On Monday, five emergency workers were killed and more than 60 miners injured.

It came only a day after a smaller explosion in which dozens were injured. 

The Prime Minister of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovich, has said lives and not economic losses due to the mine's closure are the most important.
“We will certainly face great economic problems. But that's not the main thing. The main thing is that we must avoid any further deaths,” he commented.

Igor Krol, Emergencies Ministry spokesman, said the accident took place in the same section as the blast two days ago. 

“It took around two hours for emergency workers and miners to be brought to the surface. All work at the coal mine remains suspended,” he added.  

Back on November 18 at the same site, the worst blast in post-Soviet Ukraine killed more than one hundred miners. 

The series of accidents has left more than 150 miners in Ukrainian hospitals, mainly suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.