A local television station was forced off the air on Monday after a bomb destroyed its transmitters in a southern Russian republic - North Ossetia, an act which station employees called a bid to influence their coverage of the presidential campaign. The bomb, equivalent to 400 grams (14 ounces) of TNT, ripped through the upper floor of Electron culture palace in Vladikavkaz, destroying equipment belonging to TV Visavi plus an independent station, which backs the incumbent president of North Ossetia. No one was injured in the explosion. Elbrus Tsarikaev, who heads the television company, said he thinks the station was targeted because of its support for President Alexander Dzasokhov, who is seeking a second term. Presidential elections in North Ossetia, which borders the breakaway republic of Chechnya, were scheduled for January 27. Interior Minister Kazbek Dzantiev ordered an immediate investigation into the explosion and posted police units around other transmitters throughout the republic. He said the extra security would be provided until after the elections, the Russia Journal reported.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart