Russian President Vladimir Putin said an explosion at a St. Petersburg supermarket that wounded 13 people was a terrorist attack and ordered his security forces to shoot to “liquidate the bandits on the spot” if threatened.
“You know that yesterday in St. Petersburg a terrorist act was carried out,” Putin said Thursday at the Kremlin during an awards ceremony for Russian troops who served in Syria.
He also warned members of the country’s security force that they should take no chances when confront by terror suspects.
“I yesterday ordered the FSB director to act within the framework of the law when detaining these bandits of course, but if there is a threat to the life and well-being of our employees … to act decisively, not take any prisoners, and liquidate the bandits on the spot,” Putin said, referring to the Federal Security Service.
A homemade bomb packed with seven ounces of explosives and shrapnel went off in a storage area for customers’ bags Wednesday at at a supermarket in St. Petersburg, Putin’s hometown.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack and Putin didn’t offer any details to back up his claim.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also wouldn’t say what led authorities to say the attack was terrorism, but added that the fact the bomb contained shrapnel proved it “was a terrorist act.”
Putin also praised Russia’s military involvement in Syria, saying without it the threats of terror attacks would have been much worse.
“What would have happened if those thousands (of terrorists) that I have just spoken about, hundreds of them had come back to us, trained and armed,” he said.
Residents of St. Petersburg have been on edge since April when a suicide bombing on a subway line killed 16 people and wounded more than 50.
Russian authorities identified the bomber as Akbardzhon Dzhalilov, a 22-year-old Kyrgyz-born Russian national.
Then, earlier this month, Putin thanked President Trump for providing a CIA tip that helped thwart a series of bombings in St. Petersburg.
The Federal Security Service said it arrested seven suspects linked to the Islamic State terror group in connection to the plot.
Russian officials also said they had planned to bomb the Kazan Cathedral and other crowded sites in the city.