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‘My call could’ve saved her’: Heart-broken husband on wife’s tragic death in St. Petersburg blast

The grieving husband of a St. Petersburg doll maker who was killed in Monday’s metro bombing while possibly shielding her daughter from the blast told RT that he blames himself for not calling his wife moments before the two got on the doomed train.

READ MORE: St. Petersburg Metro bombing: What we know so far

Fifty-year-old Irina Medyantseva, a locally-known doll maker, was one of the 14 people that lost their lives in the April 3 blast. Some 50 others were injured. Irina entered the ill-fated metro train car with her daughter Elena, who was later admitted to intensive care, but survived.

Medyantseva’s husband, Aleksandr Kaminsky, received a call from Elena in the immediate aftermath of the attack. While he could not make out what his horrified stepdaughter was saying, he says he knew that something terrible had happened.

“Due to that heinous terror attack against innocent people, my beloved wife died and my daughter was injured. It’s a horrible tragedy,” Kaminsky told RT, his voice shaking.

Kaminsky finds it extremely hard to cope with the tragedy. The grief-stricken husband believes that, on that day, Irina had gone to Sennaya Square to buy some parts for her hand-crafted dolls.

“Then they entered the metro and got into that fated train. It’s horrifying. It’s very hard. It’s a huge tragedy. Everyone who lost a loved one knows it,” he said.

Recalling the day of the attack, Aleksandr laments that he had not done something that might have delayed Irina’s fated metro trip.

“I’m so sorry that I didn’t call her yesterday. It seemed like any other day. I knew where they were going. I thought that I ought not distract her while she was on her way,” Kaminsky said. “Maybe my call would have saved her life. Just a three-minute call, a pause on her way, and they would have been on another train.”

Irina’s niece, Maria Levkina, wrote on social media earlier that her aunt saved Elena’s life by shielding her from the explosion with her own body.

The tragic story has made headlines in international media, but this is hardly consolation for Aleksandr, who says his life has changed forever.

“At 2pm, my life was divided into two parts: a happy one before, and an uncertain one afterwards,” Kaminsky said, adding that he does not yet know how to go on with life after what happened.

Irina’s hand-made dolls were in high demand among collectors and those who appreciate her rare craft. Doll making, which initially began as a hobby, paved the way to her successful career.

“She made dolls. She started back then when she lived in Novgorod Oblast. She’d loved dolls since her childhood. In the beginning, it was a hobby. Then, she made it her job,” Aleksandr said.

As Aleksadr speaks, a set of dolls and soft toys that Irina made lie by his side clad in intricate dresses adorned with miniature bowknots and laces next to a toy hedgehog with giant black eyes and long lashes. Aleksandr clutches the dolls, the legacy of his wife, in both hands.   

READ MORE: St. Petersburg Metro bomber, identified as 22yo Dzhalilov, planted another bomb

An improvised explosive device went off in the third car of a St. Petersburg Metro train moving between the Tekhnologichesky Institut and Sennaya Ploshchad stations at around 2:40pm on Monday. Another bomb disguised as a fire extinguisher was defused by a bomb squad at the Ploshchad Vosstaniya station. The perpetrator has been identified as the 22-year old Akbarzhon Dzhalilov, a Russian citizen of Kirgyz origin. Russia’s State Investigative Committee is treating the incident as a terrorist attack. No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing so far, and the motives of the attacker remain unknown.