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Dog is deputys best friend

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We understand that this is not strictly speaking an ''Only in Russia'' story, but given that Lugansk is very close to the Russian border and that it is basically a Russian-speaking town, we decided to make an exception the story is really bizarre and its main character is well worth the Darwin Award.

It recently appeared on a humorous Russian web-site, but was first reported in all seriousness on the Ukrainian '1+1' TV channel.

On Saturday night, residents of the village of Yubileinoye near the town of Lugansk in Eastern Ukraine were woken up by an explosion and a flash. It turned out that a military-issue RGD-5 hand grenade had detonated in the village street and that a local politician was killed by the explosion. Such things are not unheard-of in most post-Soviet states, but this time the police investigation unearthed a very unusual incident.

It turned out that a 40-year old deputy of the local Rada (legislature), together with a friend, was walking his boxer dog late at night. In the street they met a cadet of the Lugansk University of Interior Affairs, accompanied by two girls. The young man decided to tick off the dog owner and said that the boxer ought to be on a leash and wearing a muzzle. The local deputy took offence and gradually a heated quarrel developed. Eventually the politician took a hand grenade out of his pocket and threw it at the young people.

At this, the boxer, being a loyal pet, suddenly decided to prove his worth. Obviously considering everything to be some kind of game, the dog fetched the grenade and obediently returned it to its master only for both of them to be blown to pieces. The dog died immediately and the owner died shortly afterwards in an ambulance. The cadet was wounded and is currently undergoing treatment in the emergency ward of the local hospital.

Investigators are checking the deputys background and looking for any other ''devices'' the man may have kept to prevent anyone coming between him and his darling pooch.

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