Latest reports are speaking of 14 dead, with no elaborations. Expect the figures to bounce around a bit until they settle down some time tomorrow.
A three-day mourning period, previously announced by the St Petersburg City Government, began on Tuesday in connection with the Metro explosion, in which, according to recent data from the National Anti-Terrorist Committee, killed 11 people and injured 45. Meanwhile, on Monday night, the main MChS office in St Petersburg published a list of victims in hospital. It enumerated 51 people. Meanwhile, the investigation is considering different versions of what happened in the stretch between the Sennaya Ploshchad and Technological Institute stations. In particular, a law enforcement source said that the alleged suspect that might have committed the terakt* had close connections with radical Islamists. In addition, according to the source, the version that the St Petersburg Metro terakt was a solo action is only one of several [scenarios under scrutiny].
- Terakt: Russian acronym for “terrorist action”
The administration of a St Petersburg hospital where victims are under care said that they have adequate supplies of blood. Health Minister V I Skvortsova arrived in Petersburg; she called on residents to participate in donor campaigns:
There isn’t a shortage. Right now, our supply of blood and blood products is sufficient, but experience shows that when there’s such a tragedy, there’s no such thing as surplus blood. Therefore, we’d be very grateful to those who’d take part in donor campaigns.
Skvortsova noted that, in the morning, the Ministry of Health would hold a consultation via videoconference with leading Moscow clinicians and medical specialists, who’d discuss the treatment plan for the victims.
Washington Wants to Help
Shortly after the tragedy, President Putin laid flowers at the Technological Institute metro station. Then, he telephoned his US counterpart, Donald Trump, who gave Russians words of support. D S Peskov, Putin’s Media Secretary, said:
In a telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump expressed his deep condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the barbaric terakts perpetrated in the St Petersburg Metro and asked [Putin] to convey his words of support to the Russian people. Putin thanked his American counterpart for his solidarity.
In turn, the White House later said that during a telephone conversation Trump offered Putin assistance in bringing those responsible for the tragedy to justice. The White House media office released:
President Trump offered full support of the US government in response to the attack to bring the perpetrators to justice. President Trump and President Putin agreed that we must defeat terrorism resolutely and quickly.
Was It a Terakt?
From a legal standpoint, we can’t call the tragedy a terakt, as the investigation must check all possible scenarios. The signs seem to point to a terakt, but the investigation is obliged to consider all possible versions. It’s impossible from a legal point of view to call it a terakt because we must look at all versions. The investigating authorities must be able to say with certainty that this was a terakt. It looks like one, but investigations must follow a certain order.
Meanwhile, a law enforcement source told us:
The suspect in the terakt had close connections with radical Islamic groups operating in Russia. Moreover, these groups were already under special services scrutiny. The version of a solo suicide-bomber, who first left a bomb at the Ploshchad Vosstaniya station, and then detonated a second bomb on another line, is only one of several. The bomb neutralised at the Nevsky station was equivalent to one kilo of TNT.
A Native of Central Asia
Our source also said:
In the possible epicentre of the explosion, we found the body of a native of one of the Central Asian countries; however, it’s too early to call him a suicide bomber.
Meanwhile, some media reported that a Kazakh citizen could’ve been the perp of the St Petersburg terakt on 3 April. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan commented on this information, stating that talk about a Kazakh being involved in the tragedy was premature. In his Facebook page, Press Secretary of the Foreign Ministry Anuar Zhaynakov wrote:
The search for 22-year-old Kazakh citizen Maksim Aryshev, who was in the Metro at the time of the explosion and stopped communicating after the incident, continues. I think that to talk about the possible involvement of Aryshev in the St Petersburg terakt is premature. The search continues.
Zhaynakov revealed that the Kazakh Consul General in St Petersburg received a phone call from Irina Arysheva from Alma-Ata, who said that when the explosion happened, she lost contact with her son… Maksim Vitalyevich Aryshev, born in 1996. Maksim lived in St. Petersburg with his girlfriend and her family. According to relatives, Maksim’s last contact was at 14.30 on 3 April; he said that he was coming home after classes at the University from the Sennaya Ploshchad station through the Technological Institute station.
The Situation is Under Control
Of course, the president now actually receives new input from the special services and investigative agencies. Apparently, tomorrow, he’ll continue to receive this information. The city and federal authorities will take all proper measures to assist the victims and their families. At a meeting of the FSB directorate, the President reported on the preliminary results of the initial investigation into the explosion. Representatives of the FSB, MChS, MVD, and Rosgvardiya reported on the preliminary results of the initial phase of the investigation.
4 April 2017