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    All victims of South Ossetia bus crash had Russian passports

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    Everyone on the bus that crashed in South Ossetia on Sunday killing 11 people, including two children, was a Russian citizen, the South Ossetian Interior Ministry said.

    Everyone on the bus that crashed in South Ossetia on Sunday killing 11 people, including two children, was a Russian citizen, the South Ossetian Interior Ministry said.

    The bus crashed off the Trans-Caucasus highway near the Roki Tunnel, which connects the Russian republic of North Ossetia with the former Georgian republic of South Ossetia.

    "I have a list of passengers that has just been received from the border post," the duty officer at the South Ossetian Interior Ministry said. "Everyone, including the driver, is recorded here as a Russian citizen."

    The official noted that many South Ossetian residents have Russian passports, which they have been able to obtain for several years. For most, it was the only way they could travel abroad until Russia recognized the republic's independence in August 2008.

    A South Ossetian spokeswoman said the remaining 14 people on the bus were injured in the crash.

    "They were taken to the central hospital in Tskhinvali," she said.

    The Committee of Information, Communications and Mass Media of South Ossetia announced the names of 10 victims. They included members of the Russian military base in Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian capital, and residents of the Russian republics of Dagestan, Chechnya and North Ossetia, as well as people from Tskhinvali.

    The Interior Ministry duty officer said the bus was en route from Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia, to Tskhinvali when it veered off the road and fell about 60 meters.

    "It is still early to talk about the preliminary causes," he said. "The weather conditions at the scene were fine."

    Pictures shown on television showed the battered bus lying on its side. A representative of the Interior Ministry said the driver survived the crash and was in serious condition.

    An employee at the bus station in Vladikavkaz told RIA Novosti that the bus was a new KAvZ from Kurgan in southern Siberia and belonged to South Ossetia.

    In August 2008, Russia expelled Georgian troops from the republic after Tbilisi attacked in a bid to bring it back under its control.

    Moscow has since signed several cooperation agreements with the tiny mountainous region, which depends on Russia for its security, energy supplies and much of its infrastructure.

    MOSCOW, July 18 (RIA Novosti)

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