Two blasts in Moscow Metro, dozens killed
Two explosions have rocked the Moscow Metro this morning, claiming dozens of dead and injured. According to preliminary data, the blasts were carried out by suicide bombers.
The first explosion happened in a carriage at the central Lubyanka underground station at around 8 am. The second blast happened at the Park Kultury Metro station also in a carriage of a train a little more than half an hour later. Both stations are in the very center of Moscow.
According to the latest information by the news agencies, the overall death toll has risen to 39 with more than 70 injured.
The explosions happened during rush hour. Both Lubyanka and Park Kultury stations are very busy interchange stations, with many people there at any given time, particularly on Monday morning.Rescuers and police quickly arrived at both scenes. For the most part of the day all train services had been suspended in the affected area of the Moscow Metro system, with security services on high alert.
Also, mobile telephone networks in Moscow were overloaded with people trying to reach their loved ones.
RT presenter Yulia Shapovalova was leaving the RT office, which is very close to Park Kultury station, and she was an eyewitness to the scene. She reported that escalators were not working and were crammed with people being evacuated from the station.
“People were very nervous, but there was no panic,” she said, adding that people were calling each other to be sure those they know were not affected by the blasts.
RT Director General Aleksey Nikolov said he himself missed the blast on Park Kultury station by 10 minutes and that “most people are aware that there is a terrorism and this can happen.”
RT presenter Rory Suchet, who was walking past Park Kultury Metro station shortly after the blast, pointed out that “those people behind these attacks – as pleased as they may be with bringing the Moscow Metro to a standstill – they have not brought Russia’s capital to a standstill."
"It has been a planned action"
A criminal investigation into a terrorist act has been initiated.
The Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Aleksandr Bortnikov has briefed President Dmitry Medvedev about the explosions in the Moscow Metro.
RT’s political commentator Peter Lavelle labeled the events “a coordinated terrorist attack, as simple as that.”
“Whoever is behind this, whatever groups are behind this – they are sending a message. Their war is far from being over,” he said.Aleksandr Pikaev, an analyst from the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, recalled that this has become the first terrorist act on such a scale in Moscow since 2004.
“Russia is under a terrorist attack and authorities should pay more attention to combat it,” he said. “Authorities need to demonstrate what they can do.”Political analyst Vladimir Kozin condemned the terror acts in Moscow Metro as “another barbaric act of aggression against the entire Russian population.”
He called on the all forces inside and outside Russia “not to incite any so-called separatists. They are not freedom fighters, they are subversive elements.”
Viktor Linnik, Editor-in-Chief of Slovo newspaper, told RT that “this is obviously a planned action.”
“Probably there have been leaks on terror acts being planned in Moscow because there have been very strong armed patrols in Moscow for the past five or six days,” he said.
“What has happened is a shock, but not a cause for panic. We have seen it before,” Linnik added.
Aleksandr Konovalov from the Institute of Strategic Assessment commented to RT that “terrorists [have] reminded us that they are alive, active and are going to continue their job.”