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(LEAD) Russian experts inspect results of Cheonan probe

All Headlines 14:38 May 31, 2010

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with starting inspection; AMENDS headline; TRIMS previous quote)

SEOUL, May 31 (Yonhap) -- A team of Russian navy experts started its own inspection Monday of a multinational investigation that concluded North Korea torpedoed a South Korean warship in March, officials at Seoul's defense ministry said.

The four-member Russian team of experts in submarine and torpedos arrived in Seoul earlier in the day. They will be briefed about the results of the international probe, officials said, and will also inspect the wreckage of the ship, the Cheonan, as well as the site of the sinking during their stay.

"Starting tomorrow, they will be briefed about detailed evidence from the multinational investigation," said a ministry official.

Upon completing discussions with South Korean investigators on Friday, the Russian team will make a report by June 7, according to the ministry official.

The Russian team's visit came as South Korea pushes for the United Nations Security Council to censure North Korea for the sinking that killed 46 sailors. Winning support from China and Russia, both veto-wielding council members, would be critical to the South's move to impose new or tougher sanctions against the North.

Russia, an ally of North Korea, has said it will decide its position on South Korea's plan to refer the North's sinking of the Cheonan to the U.N. Security Council after examining the outcome of the investigation.

In a telephone conversation with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak last week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urged calm responses to prevent tensions on the Korean Peninsula from escalating further in the aftermath of the sinking.


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