Gunman kills three in Russian kindergarten

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A man has shot and killed two children and a teacher at a Russian kindergarten before turning the gun on himself, authorities in the Ulyanovsk region on the River Volga say.

"We confirm the fact of the shooting and that there are four dead," the authorities said.

The man reportedly entered the kindergarten in the village of Veshkayma, about 100 kilometres west of the regional capital Ulyanovsk during the children's nap time and opened fire, the Interfax news agency reported.

Sergei Morozov, a federal lawmaker and the former governor of the Ulyanovsk region, said the two children were five and six years old.

One other staff member was wounded, according to local health officials.

The motive of the gunman remained unclear.

Ulyanovsk human rights envoy Sergei Lulkov told the Interfax news agency that the man had no relation whatsoever to any of the victims.

Russia's human rights ombudswoman Tatyana Moskalkova identified the perpetrator as a 26-year-old mentally ill man.

Ulyanovsk lawmaker Boris Stolypin told the Russian state Tass news agency that the gunman stole the weapon - an IZh-26 hunting gun - from another man, whom he also killed.

Police have launched a criminal investigation into the shooting and Ulyanovsk authorities have promised to pay families of the victims one million roubles ($A67,830).

with reporting from AP

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