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Nine missing after blast in Ukraine mine

Nine miners were missing on Thursday after a gas explosion ripped through an underground coal mine in eastern Ukraine, authorities said.

KIEV: Nine miners were missing on Thursday after a gas explosion ripped through an underground coal mine in eastern Ukraine, authorities said.

The blast happened before dawn at a depth of 300 metres (1,000 feet) in the mine, located in the eastern city of Kirovsk, the State Emergency Service said in a statement.

Work in the mine was immediately halted, but more than three hours later there were still no signs of the missing miners, the statement said.

Accidents are a regular feature at Ukrainian mines, most of which are located in the country's industrial eastern region, where pro-Russian rebels now control over a dozen towns and cities.

Many of them are underfunded and poorly equipped, and safety violations are rife.

In the worst accident of its kind in the country's post-Soviet history, more than 100 miners were killed in an explosion in 2007 at the Zasyadko mine, one of the three biggest in Ukraine.

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