At least 14 people are confirmed dead, and many more injured, after a female suicide bomber blew herself up in the entrance of a Russian train station on Sunday.
An exact death toll has has yet to be confirmed; a spokesperson for Russia’s state Investigative Committee said at least 14 people have died; while the regional governor said there were 15 casualties.
The bomber, who has not yet been named, detonated the device just before reaching the metal detectors in Volgograd station.
Russia’s Investigative Committee representative, Vladimir Markin, spoke of the force of the blast.
“The power of the explosion was equivalent to at least 10 kilograms of TNT,” he said. “The explosive device was stuffed with pieces of scrap metal and the blast happened near the metal detectors located at the entrance to the station”
Dmitri Makovkin, a 29-year-old police officer, reportedly perished on site while stopping the bomber from advancing further into the station.
This is the second deadly attack in southern Russia in three days. On December 27, a car bomb in Pyatigorsk killed three people; while on October 21, 2013, a female suicide bomber also struck in Volgograd, killing seven people.
President Vladimir Putin has apparently ordered law enforcement agencies to improve security. While a federal police spokesman said there will be increased security at train stations and airports.
Sunday’s attack will bolster fears of attacks by Islamist militants as Russia prepares to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Volgograd lies close to Russia’s North Caucasus, a strip of mostly Muslim provinces plagued by near-daily violence.
In a video posted online in July, Islamist insurgent leader and Chechen warlord, Doku Umarov, urged militants to use “maximum force” to prevent President Putin from staging the Olympics.
The Games will be held in the Black Sea city of Sochi, around 690 kilometres from Volgograd, in February 2014.
Sunday’s attack was the deadliest to strike Russia’s heartland since Islamist insurgents killed 37 people at a Moscow airport in January 2011.