The Moscow city court has started to consider a case relating to firing of the American Embassy in Moscow in spring 1999. The suspect is Aleksandr Suslikov, a 42-yearold sculptor, member of Russia’s Union of Artists. According to the version put forward by the procurator’s office, Mr. Suslikov and his – still unidentified -acquaintance attacked a jeep driven by police colonel Nikolai Lebedev and, threatening him with a gun, forced him to drive to the U.S. embassy where a rally was being held protesting against NATO air raids in Yugoslavia. Having stopped opposite to the embassy building, the hijackers allegedly tried to fire grenade-guns at the embassy, but the guns failed. Then, according to the version, the got out of the jeep and started to fire machine-guns and pistols. Police, supervising the rally, returned fire, so a skirmish broke out. Finally, the malefactors managed to escape using the jeep. Mr. Suslikov was subsequently detained. He admits firing at the embassy. At the same time, he insists it was not a terrorist act, but the act of protest against the policy of the American administration.
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Eyewitnesses said that explosions could be heard in the centre of Kyiv. Smoke was seen rising above Zhuliany Airport (Kyiv International Airport)