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2 More Suspects Detained in Pugachyov

PUGACHYOV — Police have  detained two more suspects in a deadly street fight that ignited an ethnic conflict in a small Russian town, a regional lawmaker said.

Tensions in Pugachyov, a town of some 40,000 near the Volga River, have been seething since Sunday, when a 20-year-old former paratrooper died of stab wounds inflicted in a fight over a girl, according to officials.

The initial suspect, an ethnic Chechen, was detained Sunday and confessed to the killing, prosecutors said.

Authorities are now reportedly trying to prevent non-local nationalists from descending on the town, where mobs of hundreds of residents have called for ethnic Chechens to be cast out.

Some media reports have identified the ethnicity of the blond-haired victim, Ruslan Marzhanov, as half Russian, half Tatar.

On Thursday, Vladimir Kapkayev, speaker of the Saratov regional legislative assembly, told a crowd of some 300 people who had gathered in the town square for the fifth consecutive day that the suspects offered resistance during the arrest.

"Police had to fire shots in the air, and when one of the suspects continued to resist they shot him in the leg. His life is not in danger. Both were detained, and an investigation in their possible involvement in the crime is underway," he said.

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