An explosion that rocked a supermarket in St Petersburg on Wednesday causing 13 injuries was a terrorist attack said President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.
« Yesterday, a terrorist act was committed in St Petersburg, » said Putin, at the opening of a ceremony awarding military decorations to Russian servicemen who participated in the Russian operation in Syria. The explosive device, « equivalent to 200 grams of TNT, » according to the National Anti-Terrorist Committee (NAK), was hidden in a locker in Perekriostok supermarket, in the northeast of Russia’s second largest city. An investigation has been opened into « attempted homicide ».
At the military ceremony on Thursday Putin said he had ordered the special services of the FSB « to act within the framework of the law when arrests are being made, but if there is a threat to the lives or health of our officers, we must act firmly and take no prisoners, but liquidate the bandits on the spot. » His spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the press that the order concerned « those who are preparing to commit attacks in our country. »
Local news site Fontanka.ru aired footage of video surveillance of the supermarket that they say shows the attacker.
In the video, a man of « non-Slavic appearance », dressed in a green hooded jacket, appears first with a beige backpack, then leaves the supermarket without his bag, says the site.
This is the second confirmed terrorist attack to take place in St. Petersburg this year. In April 16 people were killed and dozens wounded when a bomb went off the on the city’s underground metro. That attack was claimed by a little-known group linked to al-Qaeda.
The alleged perpetrator, Akbarjon Djalilov, a 22-year-old man from Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic in Central Asia, was also killed in the attack.
In mid-December, the Russian security services also announced the dismantling of an IS cell preparing to carry out attacks on December 16 in St Petersburg.