Putin visits bomb-hit Volgograd

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 1, 2014 at 7:49 am •  Published: January 1, 2014
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VOLGOGRAD, Russia (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday made a pre-dawn visit to the city reeling from two suicide bombings this week, bringing gestures of sympathy for the victims and questions for the officials he has ordered to beef up security.

The bombings at the main railway station of Volgograd and on a city trolleybus killed 34 people and wounded scores, 65 of whom are hospitalized.

No claim of responsibility has been made for either attack, but they come a few months after the leader of an Islamic insurgency in Russia's south called for attacks in the run-up to February's Winter Olympics in the resort city of Sochi.

"Whatever motivated the criminals' actions, there's no justification for committing crimes against civilians, especially against women and children," Putin said, opening a meeting in Volgograd with the heads of the Federal Security Service and the Interior Ministry.

He said he would ask the two officials in the closed-door session for details on what measures their agencies are taking to raise security in the country.

Afterward, Putin placed a bouquet on the pile of flowers, balloons and other commemorative items that has risen at the site of the trolleybus bombing, and then visited a hospital where some of the wounded are being treated.

Television footage showed Putin meeting with an unidentified female victim who told him from her bed that "Volgograd people have a strong spirit and just can't be broken."

Volgograd, a city of about 1 million, has been under heavy security since the Sunday and Monday attacks. Police reinforcements and paramilitary troops were sent into the city.

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