Blast rocks shopping centre metres from Kremlin

Hundreds of Christmas shoppers urgently evacuated as a loud bang was heard in a posh mall in the very heart of Moscow. It's believed a powerful firecracker may have caused the blast. Emergency services are at the scene.

Police have confirmed there was a blast at The Okhotny Ryad, but say there were no casualties.

Officers have cordoned off the whole area.

People inside the mall were ordered to leave the centre and the surrounding area. Three fire engines and five ambulances were sent to the scene.

There were reports of a second blast near the shopping centre. But police said that is was just a suspicious bag that they destroyed by a water cannon. No explosives were inside it.

The popular shopping mall, right beside Red Square, will not re-open until Friday.

Moscow’s Mayor, Yury Luzhkov, visited the scene shortly after the incident. 

“I went to the site personally. The blast was caused by an uncovered explosive device equivalent to approximately to 200-400 grams of TNT. As a result a lamp post was partially destroyed and the panels of the building broken. Fortunately no one was hurt and there was no serious damage to the building,” Gennady Gudkov from State Duma Security committee said.