A group of young men stabbed and beat one Spanish and two Peruvian students in Voronezh in what appeared to be the latest in a series of xenophobia-related attacks. One of the Peruvians, an 18-year-old first-year student, died on the way to the hospital.
Prosecutors in Voronezh, a city of 1 million located 580 kilometers south of Moscow, called the Sunday evening attack an act of hooliganism, and the region's governor concurred that it could not be considered a hate crime because a Russian student was also injured.
The three foreign students were walking with a Russian student near the Olimpik Sports Complex on the outskirts of Voronezh at around 6 p.m. Sunday when they were attacked by 15 to 20 young men carrying knives and "blunt metal and wooden objects," Galina Gorshkova, a spokeswoman for the Voronezh regional prosecutor's office, said by telephone Monday.
Peruvian national Enrique Arturo Angeles Hurtado, a first-year student at the Voronezh State Architecture and Civil Engineering University, died as he was being taken to the hospital, Gorshkova said. He had suffered several blows to the head and two stab wounds in the hip, she said.
The other Peruvian national, Alexander Manuel Navarro Ayala, 18, was hospitalized with a concussion and was in stable condition Monday, said Egorov Ramirez Hinojosa, consul-general at the Peruvian Embassy in Moscow.
Spanish national Mario Potino Rodriguez, 30, an intern in the Voronezh State University's philology department, was hospitalized with a concussion and bruises and also was in stable condition,
Gorshkova said the Russian student suffered minor injuries but was not hospitalized.
Voronezh prosecutors said they were investigating the incident as an act of hooliganism, rather than a racially motivated attack, a distinction under Russian law that would mean a lighter prison sentence if any attackers were convicted.
Sunday's attack was the latest in a series of apparently racially motivated attacks in Voronezh. Over the past five years, 13 foreign students have died in racially motivated slayings, said Gabriel Kotchofa, president of the Foreign Students Association in Russia.
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