- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 1, 2009

CHISINAU, MOLDOVA (AP) - An explosion Wednesday ripped through a pipeline carrying Russian gas to the Balkans, reducing supplies to the region but causing no injuries, a Moldovan government department said.

The 5:30 a.m (0230 GMT) blast created a crater measuring 1,080 square feet (110 square meters) and was heard six miles (10 kilometers) away, the emergency situations department’s spokeswoman Liliana Puscasu said.

Puscasu said the explosion occurred about 40 miles (65 kilometers) south of Chisinau, between two towns in Trans-Dniester, a region in eastern Moldova controlled by separatists.

Trans-Dniester officials said that the blast had been caused by a landslide after days of heavy rain in the hilly region.

Hours after the blast, firefighters were still trying to extinguish flames that leapt 165 feet (50 meters) into the air.

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