(Vatican Radio) Russian authorities say at least 10 people have been killed and 50 others injured in an explosion on an underground metro train in the Russian city of St. Petersburg. Russia's President Vladimir Putin, who was in St. Petersburg for a meeting with Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko, said investigations are ongoing on whether the Monday blast was related to terrorism.
Listen to the report by Stefan Bos:
As the investigation began, rescue workers, medics and security forces were seen rushing to the bloodstained scene. Ambulances and helicopters evacuated some of the many injured survivors.
Russia's National Anti-Terrorist Committee said an unidentified explosive device went off at 2:20 p.m. local time on a train that was leaving the Technology Institute station and heading to the Sennaya Square station elsewhere in the city.
The St. Petersburg subway immediately shut down all of its stations. And the national anti-terrorism body said security measures would be tightened at all key transport facilities across Russia
Speaking from Constantine Palace in St. Petersburg, Putin said authorities were investigating whether the blast was an act of terrorism and he offered his condolences to the relatives of those who died. "At the beginning of our meeting I would like to express my deepest condolences to the families of those who died and were injured," he said sitting next to his Belarussian counterpart.
"I have already talked to the heads of the special security agencies and the FSB [Russia's Federal Security Service] head," Putin explained to reporters. "Law enforcement agencies and special services are working; they will do everything possible to reveal the reasons and to give a full assessment of what has happened. Local and federal authorities will take action to provide support to the victims' families and injured citizens," he added.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast. Yet, the Islamic State group has in the past threatened attacks in Russia in revenge for Russian bombing in Syria.
Earlier Russian transport facilities have been the target of terror attacks by Chechen militants. Double suicide bombings in the Moscow subway in March 2010 killed 40 people and wounded more than 100 people.
Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov claimed responsibility for that attack by two female suicide bombers, warning Russian leaders that "the war is coming to their cities."
The high-speed Moscow-to-St.Petersburg train was also bombed in November 2009 in an attack that left 26 dead and some 100 injured. Umarov's group also claimed responsibility for that bombing.