An explosive device detonated between two subway stations in St. Petersburg, killing nine persons and injuring dozens more in what Russian authorities assert was a terrorist attack. The blast took place between the stations at Sennaya Ploschad and Tekhnologichesky Institute. Victims include children. The governor’s office of St. Petersburg reports that dozens have been wounded by the blast in the center of St. Petersburg, Russia’s showplace.
Emergency services have confirmed that it was one blast between two stations, rather than two explosions. Russian President Vladimir Putin released a statement, saying: “The causes are not clear, so it is premature to speak of this. The investigation will reveal. However, obviously we are always considering all options - technical and criminal, first of all, manifestations of a terrorist nature.”
The office of the Russian prosecutor has confirmed that the incident is being treated as a terrorist attack.
Emergency services could be seen at one of the stations taking injured people to aid stations. Police and first responders are on the scene at the entrance to Technological Institute metro station in Saint Petersburg. A second explosive device was found at the Ploshad Vosstaniya metro station. Authorities have confirmed it has been deactivated. Smoke filled the stations as medics rushed to aid the wounded, while police sought more bombs.
Trails of blood could be seen leading from one of the cars at the Technological Institute station, while the door of a train was seen blasted to bits. According to Russian media, the bomb was left in a briefcase in one of the cars. Police say that images of the presumed terrorist were seen in closed-circuit surveillance video. Some reports say that a suspect was seen throwing a backpack onto a subway train. Surveillance video caught images of a suspect who appears to a tall male wearing a beard and dressed with a cap resembling those worn by Muslims.
Putin went on to say, "I want to express words of the most sincere regret, sympathy to relatives of those killed and injured. I have already talked to the heads of special services, with the FSB director. Law enforcement agencies and special services are working, they will do everything in order to reveal the causes of what happened." The blast coincided with a visit to the city by the Russian leader.
Senator Viktor Ozerov said: "The choice of the place and the timing of these blasts is not accidental, the president of Russia is in [Saint Petersburg], the media forum is taking place there, there are many journalists."
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson tweeted his shock at the incident. He wrote: "Horrified by news of explosion in St Petersburg. My sympathies are with the victims and their families."
The nationalities of the victims has not yet been disclosed.
The UK Foreign Office said: "We are liaising with Russian authorities following explosions on the St Petersburg metro. Our sympathies are with those affected and their loved ones."
He added, "The city authorities, and, if required, the federal authorities, will take all necessary measures to support the families of those killed and those injured."
The US Embassy in Russia also expressed its condolences. A tweet in Russian declared, "Shocked and saddened by explosions in St Pete and the resulting deaths and injuries.
"Our hearts go out to victims and families."