62% of Estonian residents are opposed to sending soldiers to Iraq, according to a recent Faktum survey. The newspaper SL Ohtuleht reported on April 15 that men age 35 and younger with higher educations were the strongest supporters of the country's participation in Iraq. Half of Estonians supported the mission while half were opposed. Meanwhile, 67% of Russians living in Estonia were opposed to the country's involvement in peacekeeping in Iraq.
Faktum Director Yukhan Kiviryakhk said last October approximately 60% of the country's residents were in favor of sending peacekeeping forces to Iraq. However, when reports became known of the first wounded Estonian soldiers, public support dropped to 54%. And with the death of the first Estonian soldier in the Iraq peacekeeping mission, more Estonians began to oppose the country's involvement in Iraq. On April 14 the Estonian parliament voted to extend the country's participation in the peacekeeping mission one more year to June 20, 2005.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building