Russia finds WWII Nazi arms ship in Baltic

Russia/Kaliningrad map

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Russian authorities are preparing to remove a huge arsenal of shells from a sunken German World War II barge off the Baltic coast.

The wreck is just 1.5km (0.9 miles) from the shore, near the town of Baltiysk, and about 20m (66ft) down.

More than 10,000 shells containing explosives are on board, but without detonators, a Russian government official told the BBC.

The removal work could take two years, Maxim Vladimirov said.

The operation, involving 18 divers, is scheduled to begin later this month.

Mr Vladimirov, a senior official in the Russian Ministry for Emergencies, said the wreck had already been fully surveyed. There was a potential hazard, he said, although the wreck was not in a shipping lane.

Once ashore, the shells will be blown up by engineers at a military site, he said.

On Tuesday a 500kg (1,100lb) World War II bomb blew up in the German town of Goettingen, killing three people who were trying to defuse it.

Baltiysk is in Russia's Kaliningrad region - a scene of intense fighting in World War II.

The area was part of Germany before it was captured by the Red Army and incorporated into the Soviet Union towards the end of the war in 1945. Its German population fled or was expelled by Soviet forces.

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