22:15 GMT +322 October 2018
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    Death toll following Saturday's gas blast in Ukraine reaches 23

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    KIEV, October 19 (RIA Novosti) - The death toll following last Saturday's household gas explosion in Dnepropetrovsk, south-central Ukraine, has risen to 23 including seven children, an emergencies ministry spokesman said on Friday.

    The blast, which occurred on October 13 in a nine-story apartment block in Ukraine's third-largest city, caused a section of the building to collapse and damaged ten neighboring buildings.

    So far 19 bodies have been identified, and 17 people, including three children, have been hospitalized.

    Despite the very real possibility of the building's total collapse, some 300 rescuers continued to work at the scene on Friday.

    According to preliminary reports, the explosion occurred due to a sharp rise in pressure in the gas supply. The Ukrainian Security Service has ruled out terrorism.

    Former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has blamed the city's gas supply company Dneprogaz, owned by Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, for the explosion.

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