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21 Jul, 2010 07:58

Medvedev informed on power plant attack: investigation is on

Medvedev informed on power plant attack: investigation is on

Following a terrorist attack on a power station in Kabardino-Balkaria, President Dmitry Medvedev has been briefed on the measures being taken in the North Caucasian republic to boost security at strategic facilities.

According to the Kremlin press service, the Russian head of state – who is currently on a visit to Finland – was also told that electricity supplies in the region were not disrupted, writes Interfax news agency.

Federal Security chief Aleksandr Bortnikov informed Medvedev “about the investigation into the blasts at the Baksan hydropower plant and the measures being taken to normalize the situation and to tighten security at strategic facilities,” a Kremlin spokesman told journalists.

The spokesperson also said that the president of Kabardino-Balkaria, Arsen Kanokov, told Medvedev about what is being done to deal with the aftermath of the gun and bomb attack on the Baksan power plant on Wednesday morning.

Early in the morning on July 21, the suspected militants burst into the station and killed two people and injured two more.

“Two security guards – a 41-year-old warrant officer and a senior lieutenant of 25 – were killed; the criminals took their weapons, and beat up two staff members who were working overnight,” writes Itar-Tass agency, citing a source in the republic's emergency committee. “The workers were taken to hospital. One of them is in poor condition.”

Following the assault, the terrorists installed explosive devices in the turbine room. Two units were blown up by three explosions, which also set three floors of the turbine room ablaze. Several hours later – at about 09:00 Moscow time – firefighters managed to put the fire out. Later, sappers found and defused another bomb, preventing another blast.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has instructed deputy premier Igor Sechin to take all the necessary measures to restore the plant as soon as possible. The premier's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that Putin had also ordered Sechin to take emergency measures to make sure energy supplies were not disrupted after the blasts, writes RIA Novosti.

Meanwhile, Russia’s National Antiterrorist Committee said that they have already ascertained those potentially responsible for the attack.

“Government bodies are keeping the emergency situation in the area under their control,” the committee said in a statement, writes Interfax. Also, the committee has called on people to assist in the detection of the militants responsible for the attack on the Baksan power plant.

Attack linked to political events

There is a link between militants becoming more active and political events in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, said Aleksandr Khloponin, the presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District.

“It is obvious. In September this year the president of the republic Arsen Kanokov’s term comes to an end,” he said, writes Itar-Tass.

The official has also added that an enforcement component will be built up to counter terrorism and extremism in the North Caucasus.

“I see no point in negotiating with people who set off explosions and kill,” he said. In addition, he underlined that it is important to “reload people’s minds” - no weapon can solve the problem of terrorism and extremism without help from society.

Despite authorities’ statements, nothing changes – deputy

Terrorist acts in Russia are continuing which raises questions about the ability of the country’s leadership to provide security and control the situation, said Gennady Gudkov, vice chair of the State Duma committee on security, a member of the Just Russia faction.

“It appears that our people take today’s terrorist attack at Baksan power plant as routine. Apparently, people are getting used to the increasing terrorist activity in the summer,” Interfax quotes him as saying. “That indicates that the illness called ‘terrorism’ is not being cured, but even expanding geographically.”

Despite loud statements authorities were making in the past ten years, nothing has really changed and the main causes of terrorism have not been eliminated.

“I cannot help but say that ideological opposition to terrorism has completely failed,” Gudkov said. Terrorists keep recruiting new accomplices and the number of militants is growing, he explained.

As a solution the politician has suggested working out a serious state program which would help prevent the appearance of “different kinds of suicide bombers.”

“It makes no sense to urge building up security of strategic facilities today,” he said. “The genie should be kept in bottle, rather than caught after he had broken free”.

“Cruel professionals” behind the attack, not “fighters for freedom”

People behind the attack are not “fighters for freedom” or “Forest Brotherhood”, but “cruel professionals”, said Aleksandr Torshin, the first Vice-Speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament and a member of the member of the National Anti-Terrorist Committee (NAK).

“It has become more dangerous to attack Federal Security Service (FSB) officers or police, that is why [the militants] have turned their attention to the local population,” Torshin said, writes RIA Novosti agency. He noted that the terrorists targeted a small power station, since launching an attack on a large facility requires serious preoperational work.

The official added that the NAK will control the situation over guarding and applying additional security measures on strategic facilities, following the deadly incident on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Boris Gryzlov, the State Duma Speaker, has urged the owners of hydraulic structures and energy facilities to build up anti-terrorist security. He suggested using security systems similar to those on atomic power stations.

He has also called on law enforcement agencies to strengthen their efforts in providing security for vital facilities, paying special attention to energy and hydraulic structures.

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