A horrifying attack occured on the subway in Vladimir Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city, at 2:40pm local time yesterday when a suicide bomber detonated a nail-bomb on the train’s third car, killing 11 and injuring 50. Now police are questioning a second suspect who later turned himself in.
Police initially released CCTV images of a 22-year old man from Kazakhstan, wearing a red jacket, beanie and glasses, believing him to be the suicide bomber. A second man, bearded, wearing all black and also identified from CCTV footage, was believed to be behind the attack, but he has now handed himself into police, vowing he is innocent. Police are in the process of putting him through a lie detector test and no organization has yet to claim responsibility for the explosion.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is currently in St. Petersburg to meet with the president of Belarus. During their meeting, Putin gave the following statement; “I have already spoken with the chiefs of special services, FSB director, law enforcement bodies and special services are working. We will do everything to identify the reasons for what happened,” adding “We will give a full evaluation of what happened, and city and federal authorities will do everything possible to support families of our killed and injured citizens.”
It’s believed that the suicide bomber left a briefcase before moving to a different carriage just before the explosion as the train was entering a tunnel between the Sennaya Ploshchad and Sadovaya stations. Authorities also claim that the bomber planted a second explosive, this time disguised as a fire extinguisher, but that it was found and defused at another nearby station.
The explosion left 11 dead and injured 50, including three children. A woman aboard the train, identified only as Polina, said “There was a deafening bang, then a strong smell and smoke. People were pressed against each other. Two women immediately fell unconscious. Everything happened on the move, the train didn’t stop.” Another local resident, Leonid Chaika, said “I saw a lot of smoke, a crowd making its way to the escalators, people with blood and other people’s insides on their clothes, bloody faces. Many were crying.”
President Putin later arrived to place flowers outside Tekhnologicheskiy Institut station, however, Kremlin officials, including spokesman Dmitry Peskov, have denied claims that Putin was a target, denouncing speculation that he was due to pass by Sennaya station roughly around the time of the blast.