Attacks on minorities in Moscow – hate crime, prosecutors say

Four Armenians and one Azerbaijani were attacked by about 15 assailants at a subway station on Saturday, said Sergei Marchenko, a spokesman for the Moscow prosecutor's office. The Moscow prosecutor's office initially said only two people were hurt in the attack, and that it was being investigated as "hooliganism," not a hate crime.

Russia has seen a wave of xenophobia and hate crimes in recent years, with hundreds of attacks reported, including many on dark-skinned immigrants from former Soviet Central Asia and the Caucasus Mountains region.

Rights activists say hate groups are emboldened by authorities' mild approach to prosecuting hate crimes, and say that neo-Nazi and extremist literature is sold freely.

In Yerevan, Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan on Monday condemned the attack, and called on Russia to do more to head off a rising tide of violent xenophobia in the country.

Meanwhile, three suspects in the Saturday stabbing of a Kazakh citizen were arrested for a racially motivated crime, the Interfax news agency reported.

Also Saturday, two Uzbek citizens were hospitalized with multiple stab wounds after being attacked in southwest Moscow, Interfax said.