St Petersburg blast was an act of terror, says Putin

RSTV Bureau
File photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin

File photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin

The blast that ripped through a supermarket in Saint Petersburg on Wednesday that injured 13 people, has been vbeen called an act of terror.

“As you know, an act of terror took place in Saint Petersburg yesterday,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of military officers in the Kremlin.

The explosion occurred at around 1845 local time as Russians geared up New Year celebrations followed by Russian Orthodox Christmas, which falls on January 7.

According to officials, the homemade bomb went off in a locker at the supermarket.

Anna Mityanina, Vice Governor of Saint Petersburg, which is Russia’s second city, said on Twitter that of the 13 wounded eight remained in hospital care.

In a sign of the severity of the situation, the case was overseen by Russia’s National Anti-Terror Committee even though authorities initially opened a probe into attempted murder.

The committee said the explosion went off after “a criminal placed an unidentified explosive device in a storage locker.”

The blast comes after a suicide bombing killed 15 people and wounded dozens on the Saint Petersburg metro in April.

That bombing was claimed by a group linked to Al-Qaeda which said it was a message to countries engaged in war with Muslims, a veiled reference to Russia’s military campaign in Syria.

Earlier this month Russia’s FSB security service said it had arrested members of the Islamic State group who had planned to blow up the Kazan Cathedral, one of Saint Petersburg’s most famous landmarks, among other crowded places.

(With inputs from agencies)