Blasts Injure 500 as Meteor Falls in Russia

A meteorite contrail is seen in this frame grab made from a video done with a dashboard camera, on a highway from Kostanai, Kazakhstan, to Chelyabinsk region, Russia.
Associated Press + More

The dramatic events prompted an array of reactions from prominent Russian political figures. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, speaking at an economic forum in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, said the meteor could be a symbol for the forum, showing that "not only the economy is vulnerable, but the whole planet."

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the nationalist leader noted for vehement statements, said "It's not meteors falling, it's the test of a new weapon by the Americans," the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said the incident showed the need for leading world powers to develop a system to intercept objects falling from space.

"At the moment, neither we nor the Americans have such technologies" to shoot down meteors or asteroids, he said, according to the Interfax news agency.

---(equals)

Max Seddon in Moscow contributed to this story.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.