A man suspected of committing 15 racially motivated killings was arrested in Moscow on Friday, according to officials.

Vasily Krivets, 21, was detained at a railway station as he tried to board a train for Ukraine, police spokeswoman Yulia Kiselyova told Vesti 24 television.

Krivets is suspected of committing 15 hate killings in 2007 and 2008, Kiselyova said.

The Investigative Committee under the Prosecutor General's office said Krivets had been detained earlier but escaped police custody last October.

Hate crimes have risen steadily in Russia in recent years, with skinheads primarily targeting non-Slavs from Central Asia and the Caucasus. In 2008, 99 people were killed in Russia in apparent racial attacks, according to the SOVA Center, a hate crimes watchdog.

SOVA director Alexander Verkhovsky told The Associated Press that Moscow police had stepped up efforts to track down perpetrators of hate crimes.

"That has helped reduce the number of racially motivated attacks," he said.

Verkhovsky said it was unknown what killings Krivets was accused of committing.