Russia has launched a terrorism investigation after Monday’s bomb attack on the Moscow to St Petersburg express. The train, carrying about 250 people, was derailed, overturning carriages and injuring dozens of people. The bomb was described as a “homemade” device, planted on a bridge over a road, and blowing a two metre wide crater in the tracks.
The train derailed just after crossing the bridge near the village of Malaya Vishera. The head of Russia’s Federal Security Service linked the attack to Chechen insurgents. At least 20 of the 60 casualties required hospital treatment, with three victims reportedly in a serious condition.
President Vladimir Putin is on a visit near the Mongolian border but he was filmed telephoning Moscow, instucting officals to do everything they could for the victims of the attack.
One FSB offical was quoted as saying the bomb had been eqiuvalent to about two kilos of dynamite in size and was detonated by remote control. Another anonymous source claimed it was of a similar type to a bomb used against the Grozny to Moscow express, two years ago. However that attack was the work of two Russian ultranationalists, who were subsequently jailed.
Russian security services are gearing up to ensure that December parliamentary and March presidential elections pass off smoothly.
The last major attack by Chechen militants dates back to 2004.