President Putin vows to 'annihilate' terrorists after Volgograd suicide bombings

Double bombings have killed at least 34 people

President Vladimir Putin has vowed to "annihilate terrorists" following two deadly bomb attacks in less than 24 hours in the southern Russian city of Volgograd.

The remarks, made in Putin's New Year’s Eve address, came amid increasing security fears ahead of the Winter Olympics.

They were his first public comments since suicide bombers killed at least 34 people in attacks on a railway station and a trolleybus on Sunday 29 December and Monday 30 December.

The bombings raised fears that there will be more terrorist attacks in the lead-up to Russia hosting the Winter Olympics in less than six weeks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

"I am certain that we will fiercely and consistently continue the fight against terrorists until their complete annihilation," Putin said on a visit to the east coast city of Khabarovsk, according to Russian news agencies.

Police on Tuesday detained dozens of people in sweeps through Volgograd, although there was no indication that any of them was connected to the attacks, for which nobody has claimed responsibility.

Putin has staked his reputation on the Winter Games in Sochi, which lies at the western edge of the Caucasus Mountains.

But he has been unable to crush Islamist militants in the Muslim provinces of the North Caucasus, who want to leave Russia and form a separate Islamic State.

Putin ordered increased nationwide security after this week’s attacks, the deadliest outside the North Caucasus since a suicide bomber from a province next to Chechnya killed 37 people at a Moscow airport in January 2011.

In Volgograd, more than 5,000 police and interior troops were mobilised in "Operation Anti-terror Whirlwind," a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry said on state TV.

Andrei Pilipchuk said that 87 people had been detained after they resisted police or could not produce proper ID or registration documents, and that some had weapons. But there was no sign any were linked to the bombings or suspected of planning further attacks.

The Itar-Tass news agency said police were focusing on migrant workers from the Caucasus and ex-Soviet states - groups that rights activists say face prejudice and are often targeted by police indiscriminately.

Investigators said they believed a male suicide bomber was responsible for Monday's morning rush-hour blast, which turned a trolleybus into a twisted wreck and left bodies lying in the street.

In Sunday's attack on the station, authorities initially described the bomber as a woman from Dagestan, but later said the perpetrator may have been a man.

The violence raises fears of an intensive campaign before the Olympics, an important project for Putin, who secured Russia's first post-Soviet Games in 2007, during his initial 2000-2008 stint as president.

Intended to showcase how Russia has changed since the collapse of Soviet communism in 1991, the Games have also been a focus for complaints in the West and among Russian liberals that Putin has stifled dissent and encouraged intolerance.

This month, Putin freed jailed opponents including oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the Pussy Riot punk band in what critics said was an effort to disarm Western criticism and improve his image.

In an online video posted in July, the Chechen leader of insurgents who want to carve an Islamic state out of mainly Muslim provinces south of Volgograd, urged militants to use "maximum force" to prevent the Games from going ahead.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach condemned the "despicable attack on innocent people" and said he had written to Putin to express condolences and confidence that Russia would deliver "safe and secure games in Sochi."

The U.S. government said it was concerned Islamist militants may be preparing attacks aimed at disrupting the Olympics and has offered closer cooperation with Russia on security.

News
i100
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Financial Accountants, Cardiff, £250 p/day

£180 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Financial Accountants - Key Banking...

Regulatory Reporting-MI-Bank-Cardiff-£300/day

£200 - £500 per day + competitive: Orgtel: I am currently working on a large p...

Recruitment Consultant - Bristol - Computer Futures - £18-25k

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Real Staffing - Leeds - £18k+

£18000 - £27000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Sales - Trainee Recruitment Co...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices