Ten people were killed, and thirty-nine more were injured in an explosion in the Metro network in the former Russian capital, St. Petersburg this afternoon at about 2:45 p.m. Moscow Time (MSK). The explosion is believed to have been caused by a bomb hidden in a briefcase filled with shrapnel. One witness claimed that a man planted a briefcase and then changed carriages, and officials confirmed that a similar device had been found and deactivated at another station.
Initial reports suggested two explosions, but it has since been confirmed that it was one explosion that occurred between stations. The train had been traveling between the Technology Institute and Sennaya Square stations when the homemade bomb went off in a blast believed to be equivalent to that of two hundred grams of TNT.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack as of yet, but the Russian media has published a CCTV image of the man who is believed to be the bomber. Russian officials say that it is too early to be certain this was a terrorist attack, but detectives have initiated a terror investigation and warrants have been issued for two suspects – though it is currently unknown if one of them is the man in the CCTV image. President Vladimir Putin said that all possibilities were being investigated, including accident, terror attack, and isolated criminal act. The Russian president was at the Constantine Palace in St. Petersburg – about twelve miles west of the explosion – for a meeting with the Belarusian president, Alexander G. Lukashenko, and to give a speech at the All-Russian People’s Front – the president’s political group.
City officials announced that all surface transportation would be free until further notice, but that the Metro system was closed. St. Petersburg’s governor, Georgi Poltavchenko, declared a three-day period of mourning in response to the attack. The original, untranslated Tweet can be found here. He also urged citizens to remain vigilant.
I appeal to you, citizens of St. Petersburg and guests of our city, to be alert, attentive and cautious, and to behave in a responsible manner in light of events.
The subway system typically carries two million passengers every day, but the explosion occurred before the evening rush hour. Security on the Moscow Metro and airports was increased after the blast. All Moscow station entrances are equipped with metal detectors, but they have not been in regular use recently. President Putin said in a televised statement that the authorities would “do everything to find out the causes of what had happened.” He also said that the both the city and federal governments would do everything to support the victims and their families.
Images, videos, and continued live coverage can be seen at The Telegraph.