MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian government says it’s relieved that nobody died in a weekend taxi crash in Moscow that injured two Mexican soccer fans and six other pedestrians.
A taxi veered onto the sidewalk near Red Square on Saturday, striking the pedestrians. Police say the taxi driver told interrogators that he hadn’t slept for 20 hours and accelerated accidentally.
The crash came as Russia is hosting the World Cup in Moscow and 10 other cities.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday that “we breathed a sigh of relief” upon learning that there were no fatalities. He wished the injured a speedy recovery.
Moscow health officials declined to comment Monday on the conditions of the injured.
City authorities identified the driver, who has been detained, as a 28-year-old man from Kyrgyzstan, a Central Asian post-Soviet republic.
Kyrgyzstan’s Prime Minister Mukhammedkaliy Abylgaziye on Monday apologized to the victims of the crash and invited them to come to his country for treatment and recovery, the Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti reported.
“What happened should not become a cause for persecution and abuse of our citizens working in Russia. This was an accident,” Abylgaziye was quoted as saying by RIA-Novosti.
But a Russian politician has suggested that the incident looks more like a terror attack.
Evgeny Roisman, the former mayor of Yekaterinburg, one the World Cup host cities, said Sunday on Twitter that he watched the video carefully and concluded that the driver intentionally veered in the direction of pedestrians.
“A lot of versions: he feel asleep, he was drunk, he confused the pedals. Make your pick,” Roisman tweeted. “I believe it was a terrorist act.”
He offered no details to back up his claim.
Moscow police said Saturday that they were investigating the taxi crash as a traffic accident — and told The Associated Press on Monday that focus has not changed.