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Russian Meteor Blast Bigger Than Thought.
MOSCOW (AP) — Scientists have found more than 50 tiny fragments of a meteor that exploded over Russia's Ural Mountains with the power of dozens of atomic bombs.
Viktor Grokhovsky, who led the expedition from Urals Federal University, said Monday the meteorites plucked from the ice-covered Chebarkul Lake so far are less than a centimeter (less than half an inch) and had an iron content of about 10 percent.
Locals saw a big meteorite fall into the lake on Friday, leaving a six-meter-wide (20-foot-wide) hole in the ice. Grokhovsky said a meteorite up to 50-60 centimeters (20-24 inches) could eventually be found in the lake.
The firebrand Russian Liberal Democrat leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky claims that no meteor fell in the Urals on Friday, but rather the US was testing a new weapon.
"You're like some primitive tribe. What meteorite?" he said, arguing that space is a "universe that has its own laws."
Zhirinovsky, more known for clownish political outrage rather than his actual political platform, added: "When something falls -- it's man-made. People are warmongers and provocateurs."
Earlier in the week, US Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly tried and failed to reach Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov by telephone for two consecutive days. The State Department said that Kerry wanted to discuss the recent North Korean nuclear test, as well as the conflict in Syria.
However, Zhirinovsky claimed that the top US diplomat "wanted to warn Lavrov about the plot and that it may affect Russia," RIA Novosti reported.
Zhirinovsky, the perennial provocateur who is no stranger to controversy, set the Russian blogosphere alight following his latest off the wall accusation.
Keen to challenge Zhirinovsky's grip on reality, sandro737 commented on Echo Moskvy: "It's not a joke anymore, it's a [psychiatric] diagnosis."
User metalag soon responded: "Let me clarify your diagnosis -- [Zhirinovsky] is not a fool, he's a jester."
He also drew in his fair share of supporters.
"Those who criticize Zhirinovsky don't understand simple matters. Everything he says is possible. We know little about the nature of modern military weaponry, and who can guarantee that NATO is not conducting a new trial," another user on commented.
On Thursday, Moscow confirmed that on February 12 it had received Washington's request to organize an urgent phone conversation between Kerry and Lavrov. The Foreign Ministry said, however, that State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland was "inaccurate with her statements" regarding their inability to get in touch with Lavrov for two days.
"Unfortunately, the conversation could not be held because of the intensive schedule of the Russian foreign minister and his working tour to African countries," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexander Lukashenko said.
"We informed the US about this at once. But no new requests were made either February 13 or another day," the diplomat added.
Pioggia di meteoriti IN RUSSIA
Метеоритный дождь В РОССИИ
Chuva de meteoros NA RÚSSIA
Meteor shower sa Russia
LLUVIA DE METEORITOS
מטר מטאורים ברוסיה
Pluie d'étoiles filantes EN RUSSIE