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Russian Diplomats Go to Boston After Deadly Explosions

Bill Iffrig, 78, lying on the ground as police officers react to a second explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston on Monday. John Tlumacki

Two Russian diplomats traveled to Boston for information on whether any Russians were among the dozens of people injured in two deadly bomb blasts near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

At least three people were killed in the Monday explosions, including an 8-year-old boy, and more than 140 others were injured, U.S. news reports said. The injuries included amputations, ruptured eardrums and shrapnel wounds.

Initial news reports said 24 Russian athletes were among the 27,000 runners participating in the annual marathon. But Mikhail Butov, head of the All-Russia Athletics Federation, told Rossia-24 state television that only one Russian had participated in the race, Vyacheslav Shabunin, and he was not injured.

The Russian Consulate in New York said it had sent two diplomats to Boston to learn more about the injured.

"While there is no evidence that some of them are Russian, it was decided to send diplomats to Boston,” Consul General Igor Golubovsky said, according to Itar-Tass. “If someone needs help, we will be able to immediately provide it.”

An identified consulate official explained to Interfax that the decision to dispatch the diplomats came after the consulate failed to receive a response through official channels. "We sent a request to the State Department and Boston authorities and did not get any reply," he said.

U.S. investigators were examining videos and photographs for clues on who planted the bombs. Two more explosive devices were found in the vicinity of the finish line and safely defused.

U.S. President Barack Obama promised to find out who is responsible and bring them to justice. But he pointedly avoided referring to the blasts as a terrorist attack, saying the authorities "still do not know who did this or why."

In Moscow, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul thanked the Russian people amid an outpouring of support.

"Thank you for all the words of solidarity here," he wrote on Twitter. "As Obama said: "Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people."

The explosions occurred about three hours after the marathon winners, Lelisa Desisa and Rita Jeptoo, crossed the finish line. Among the winners in other divisions was Russian orphan Tatyana McFadden, who won the women's wheelchair race. A student at the University of Illinois, McFadden has competed in the past three Summer Paralympics for the U.S. team. She will turn 24 next Sunday.

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