At least ten have been killed and over 30 wounded after two explosions happened on the Saint Petersburg metro on Monday afternoon.
CNN quotes eyewitnesses who believe the explosion occurred in a section of tunnel between two Metro stations. Russian state media reports officials rendering the same assessment, specifically stating that the blast “occurred in a Metro car that was traveling in the tunnel between the Sennaya Ploschad and Tekhnologichesky Institute stations.”
Mobile phone footage from a passenger on a moving train passing through an affected station shows the scene, apparently in the very early stages of recovery operations, of an unidentified station on the Saint Petersburg Metro. A large number of fire fighters and other uniformed personel can be seen on the platform as the blue line train passes through, Breitbart reports..
Russia’s ambassador to the United Kingdom expressed gratitude on Twitter for condolences from around the world:
Grateful to all who have sent us condolences over the tragedy in the St Petersburg underground pic.twitter.com/c9o5DmTohu
— Alexander Yakovenko (@Amb_Yakovenko) April 3, 2017
The UK Telegraph is reporting that a second unexploded device has been discovered on the St. Petersburg metro system, per Russian media sources.
The Telegraph also relays Russian media reports that the first bomb was packed with shrapnel, and “might have been planted in a briefcase by a man who then changed carriages.”
Vladimir Putin: We will take all the necessary measures to provide assistance to those affected by the St Petersburg metro explosion
— President of Russia (@KremlinRussia_E) April 3, 2017
According to Moscow Times editor Kevin Rothrock , “Russia’s General Prosecutor has officially declared today’s St. Petersburg subway bombing a terrorist attack.”
Senator Viktor Ozerov, chairman of the defence committee of the Federation Council has suggested a link between today’s explosions and the visit of Russian Federation president Vladimir Putin.
It isn’t known whether Mr Putin was in the city at the time of the explosion, but he was due to have meetings in Saint Petersburg today.
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow posted a message of condolences, in Russian, on its Twitter feed . Translated to English, the message reads: “We are shocked and saddened from the blast in St. Petersburg, as the result of which people died and were injured. We wholeheartedly support the victims and their families.”
The Embassy also posted an emergency message to U.S. citizens in Russia: “Media reports explosions at the Metro stations Sennaya and Technological Institute. U.S. Citizens should avoid the area. Metro stations are now closed. Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.”
Despite the apparent severity of today’s apparent attack emergency responders and the security forces appear to not have cleared the area around the Institute of Technology of civilians, who freely mix and mill around emergency vehicles.
A contrast to the emergency-response doctrine of Western European nations which has been repeatedly tested in recent years, which sees large numbers of officers deployed to clear whole city blocks in the aftermath of attacks.