Army deserters kill police officers

Two deserters from the Russian army shot and killed two police officers who stopped their stolen car at a traffic checkpoint in southern Russia, officials said today.

Two deserters from the Russian army shot and killed two police officers who stopped their stolen car at a traffic checkpoint in southern Russia, officials said today.

The two soldiers, armed with service weapons, deserted their posts early today at a motor-rifle brigade based at Maykop in the Krasnodar region in southern Russia, said Vladimir Ustinov, the duty officer for the southern district Emergency Situations Ministry.

The deserters, both army privates, hijacked a car and driver and forced him at gunpoint to drive away from the city. They were stopped by traffic police checking documents about three miles from Maykop.

They opened fire on police, killing two officers. They then stole the officers’ pistols and fled to a nearby woods.

Police, the Federal Security Service and the military police launched a search for the fugitives with orders to kill them on sight, Ustinov said.

The shooting came a four days after a Russian soldier in Chechnya shot and killed two officers, then fled his regiment.

The soldier committed suicide on Saturday after police tried to detain him.

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