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Nicaragua, Soviets blame US for damage to tanker

Nicaragua charged the United States with waging an ''undeclared war'' against the country. The charge came in the wake of damage to a Soviet oil tanker by a mine that Nicaragua said had been planted in the Puerto Sandino harbor by CIA-backed rebels.

The Soviet Union, lodging a formal protest Wednesday in connection with the explosion, said, ''The Soviet government holds the US government responsible for that grave crime, an act of banditry and piracy.''

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Just hours before the explosion, Nicaragua had warned that the ports of other Central American countries might be mined by leftist rebels in El Salvador and Honduras in retaliation for the mining of Nicaraguan harbors.

Five Soviet crew members were gravely injured in the Tuesday blast, officials said. The tanker was badly damaged but reached the port's oil terminal to unload its cargo.

In Mexico City, Nicaraguan junta coordinator Daniel Ortega Saavedra reiterated warnings that he views recent mobilizations of the US military in Central America as ''a clear threat of a military invasion aimed for El Salvador and Nicaragua.

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