Putin visits Volgograd, says there can be no justification for suicide attacks
Zee Media Bureau
Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday paid a visit to Volgograd after two attacks within a span of two days stunned the city, raising the alarm over security ahead of crucial Sochi Games.
On New Year Day, Putin visited the injured victims of the two suicide bombings in Volgograd that killed a total of 34 people.
Putin paid tribute to those killed in the bombing and placed red roses at the site of trolleybus attack.
Reiterating his condemnation over the attacks and pledge to fight the terrorists, Putin said that the “abominable crime” could not be justified anyway.
"No matter what motivated the criminals, there can be no justification for crimes against civilians, particularly against women and children," he told reporters.
Earlier in his New Year address yesterday midnight, Putin had strongly denounced the attacks vowing to “annihilate” the militants.
“We will confidently, fiercely and consistently continue the fight against terrorists until their complete annihilation," Putin told the nation in a midnight New Year address televised from the city of Khabarovsk.
No one has so far claimed the responsibility for the two suicide attacks that Russia has now provisionally blamed on the Islamist insurgents based in the North Caucasus.
The attacks have stoked security fears ahead of Sochi Olympics and Volgograd in Russia has turned into a fortress with thousands of troops deployed in the city.
Over 5,200 security forces including Interior Ministry troops were deployed in the city that is inhabited by one million people.
Under pressure for ensuring the security in wake of the Winter Olympics, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the security to be stepped up, especially at all the railway stations and airports across the country.
Some of the most extensive security measures are in place for Sochi where the games are to begin on February 07.
The attacks that come just weeks before the crucial Winter Olympics at Sochi, which is scheduled in February, have posed a serious question mark on the security risks near the Games venue that is situated just 700 kms off the volatile North Caucasus region.
Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach wrote to Russia`s Putin expressing “confidence in the Russian authorities to deliver safe and secure Games in Sochi."
“I am certain that everything will be done to ensure the security of the athletes and all the participants of the Olympic Games,” he said.
A day after the attack on a railway station in Russia`s Volgograd that killed 18 people, another blast took place on a trolleybus in the same city on Monday, killing 15 people.
While the Sunday`s attack is said to have been carried out by a male suicide bomber, the attack on the trolleybus is being blamed on a male suicide bomber whose fragments have been collected and sent for the genetic testing to help in his identification.
The two attacks, thought to be the acts of terror, might be linked, said the country`s Investigated Committee, citing that the explosives used in both the blasts were identical.
Most of the terror attacks in Russia have been staged by the suicide bombers, mainly female suicide bombers called as the Black Widows (who generally attack to avenge the death of their husbands killed in the troubled North Caucasus region.
The attacks are seen as the manifestation of the threat delivered by a Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov, who in July this year had condemned Russia for hosting Sochi Games, which he called as a “Satanic Dance”.
He had vowed to stop the Games from proceeding in Sochi, pledging attacks against civilian targets.
He instructed his followers “to use maximum force on the path of Allah to disrupt this Satanic dancing.”
"They plan to hold the Olympics on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many dead Muslims, buried on the territory of our land on the Black Sea," Umarov had said in a video.
Umarov is the leader of a Chechen separatist group Caucasus Emirate`, and the US State Department has announced a $5mn bounty for anyone informing about his whereabouts.
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