Source AP ©

Earthquake hits small Russian town, killing 2

A strong quake hit near Sakhalin island on Thursday, killing two people in a Russian fishing village and generating small tsunami waves that hit northern Japan.

The quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 6.4, struck at 0238 GMT on the southern tip of Sakhalin, just north of Japan, according to Japan's Meteorological Agency.

Viktor Beltsov, a spokesman for the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry, told The Associated Press that one woman died and two others were injured when the roof of a Palace of Culture collapsed in the small port town of Nevelsk. A man in Nevelsk died of a heart attack.

Beltsov said the quake was centered at a depth of 33 kilometers (20 miles) in the Tartar Strait, which lies between Sakhalin and the Asian mainland.

In Japan, tsunami waves of about 30 centimeters (12 inches) hit the coastal city of Wakkanai on the country's northernmost island of Hokkaido shortly before 2 p.m. (0500 GMT), according to the Meteorological Agency.

A second quake of magnitude 5.9 struck the region at 2:22 p.m. (0522 GMT), the agency said, adding there was no tsunami danger.

There were no reports of injuries or damage in Japan. Authorities lifted a tsunami warning for western Hokkaido three hours after the first quake.

Japan and Russia's Far Eastern provinces form part of the Pacific Ocean's seismically active "Ring of Fire."