• Kyodo

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A Russian border guard officer died at around 12:45 p.m. Tuesday, a week after being attacked with a firebomb in his home on Sakhalin, hospital officials said.

Vitalii Gamov, 39, and his wife, Larissa, 38, were both severely burned when someone threw a firebomb into their home in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk on May 21. They were transferred to hospitals in Sapporo in critical condition.

Gamov, who was treated at Sapporo Medical University Hospital, suffered a cardiac arrest at around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday but recovered, only to die later. He had been expected to undergo a skin graft in the morning at the hospital, but the operation was postponed after the cardiac arrest, the officials said.

Doctors initially said it would be difficult to perform the skin graft because Gamov had suffered burns over 90 percent of his body. They had then decided to go ahead with the operation because his condition was improving.

Gamov worked in cooperation with Japanese security authorities and was in charge of fighting poaching around the Russian-held islands off Hokkaido that are claimed by Japan.

His wife underwent her first skin graft on May 23 at Kyorin University Hospital in Mitaka, western Tokyo, where she was transferred from a Sapporo hospital. She is in stable condition and is expected to undergo a second skin graft Wednesday, doctors at the Tokyo hospital said earlier.

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