‘Terrorism must be defeated’: Trump offers condolences to Putin over St. Petersburg attack
US President Donald Trump has called Vladimir Putin to express his condolences over the bombing of the St. Petersburg Metro that killed at least 14 people. They agreed that Russia and the US should be fighting terrorism together, the Kremlin said.
Trump has extended “his deep condolences to the relatives and loved ones of those killed as result of a barbaric terrorist act,” Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, as cited by RIA Novosti.
“The presidents noted that terrorism is the evil against which it is necessary to fight together,” Peskov added. Putin, in turn, thanked his American counterpart for showing solidarity with the Russian people.
In a statement released following the conversation, the White House said that “both President Trump and President Putin agreed that terrorism must be decisively and quickly defeated.”
It went on to note that Trump pledged the “full support” of Washington to Moscow in “responding to the attack and bringing those responsible to justice.”
As the news on the blast broke, Trump was one of the first world leaders to express his sympathies calling the suspected attack “a terrible thing.”
The blast rocked a metro carriage on Monday afternoon as the train was making its way between two central stations, injuring over 50 people. Eleven deaths have been confirmed so far.
Putin was in St. Petersburg at the time of the attack, where he had earlier arrived for the All-Russia People’s Front media forum and to meet with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. In the immediate aftermath of the explosion, the Russian president stated that “all variants” were being considered in the investigation, but investigating a terrorist motive has been prioritized.
Putin chaired an emergency meeting of St. Petersburg’s security and rescue services, joined by the representatives of the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Interior Ministry, the Emergencies Ministry and the National Guard at which he was briefed on the ongoing investigation into the blast. He also laid flowers to the improvised memorial outside the Tekhnologichesky Institut metro station.
While the Kremlin has yet to officially confirm the suspected bombing as a terrorist attack, Russia’s Investigative Committee has said it believes the blast was most likely triggered by an explosive device detonated by a suicide bomber. Shortly after the blast, another IED in the form of a fire extinguisher was discovered at Ploshchad Vosstaniya metro station, but was promptly defused by bomb disposal teams.
While no official information has been released on suspected attackers, Russian media cited police as saying that at least two suspects are wanted in connection with the blast. There have also been media speculations about the identity of at least one of the suspects, with some reports calling him a man of a Central Asian origin.
As the condolences for the victims have been pouring in, the UN Security Council has condemned the bombing as “the barbaric and cowardly terrorist attack” and a “heinous act of terrorism” in a statement on Monday.
The Security Council also expressed hope that all those who are responsible for the crime, including “perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors” will be held accountable.