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Small blast hits US embassy in Kiev, no casualties

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A small blast hit the premises of the US embassy in Kiev overnight causing no casualties after an unknown assailant lobbed an explosive device, Ukrainian police said on Thursday.

[KIEV] A small blast hit the premises of the US embassy in Kiev overnight causing no casualties after an unknown assailant lobbed an explosive device, Ukrainian police said on Thursday.

"Investigators found that an unknown person threw an explosive device onto the territory of the diplomatic mission," the police said in a statement.

The US embassy - located in central Kiev - confirmed that an "incident involving a small incendiary device" happened just after midnight but said diplomats were working "as normal" after no damage was caused.

"At this time, we do not consider this incident a terrorist act," the embassy wrote on Twitter.

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Ukraine's foreign ministry condemned the incident, saying it could have "harmed the life and health of the diplomatic mission staff".

"Law enforcement agencies are taking all measures to investigate the crime, and additional measures are being taken to ensure the security of the diplomatic mission", ministry spokeswoman Mariana Betsa wrote on Twitter.

Ukraine has been roiled by crisis since mass protesters begun in 2013 that eventually ousted a Moscow-backed leader and pitched the country into a mammoth tug-of-war between Russia and the West.

The Kremlin responded by seizing Ukraine's Crimea peninsula and backing a pro-Moscow rebellion that spiralled into a bloody conflict still rumbling on in eastern regions.

AFP

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