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Russia Evacuates Diplomat Injured in CAR Terror Attack

Dmitry Sitiy vk.com/officersunion

The head of a Russian cultural center in the Central African Republic (CAR) who was hospitalized when an explosive device sent to him in the mail detonated was "urgently evacuated" to Russia, Moscow's embassy in the country said Monday.

The Russian Embassy in the CAR capital Bangui confirmed that Dmitry Sitiy was being evacuated to Russia, and said he is in "severe but stable" condition.

On Friday, Sitiy, who runs the Bangui branch of the state-funded Russian House cultural center which promotes Russian culture abroad, received a parcel that later detonated when Sitiy opened it at home.

The exploding package, which bore no return address, had been an attempt to "harm" ties between Moscow and Bangui, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The ministry also confirmed that it had sent a diplomatic note to the CAR Foreign Ministry demanding a full investigation into the attack. 

Sitiy had reported receiving death threats prior to the attack, according to local law enforcement agencies. 

"Earlier, he received the first package, and when he opened it, there were threats in it," CAR police head Bienvenue Zokoue was quoted as saying by Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian businessman who heads the Wagner mercenary group, which is known to be active in the CAR, accused France of being behind the attack. 

"I have already requested the Russian Foreign Ministry with starting the procedure to declare France a state sponsor of terrorism," Prigozhin was quoted as saying in a statement released by his company, Concord, on Friday.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said on Friday that Prigozhin's claim was "false" and "a good example of Russian propaganda."

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