Putin: retribution 'inevitable' for airport bomb

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The Independent Online

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin vowed "retribution is inevitable" for the suicide bombing that killed 35 people at Russia's busiest airport, while President Dmitry Medvedev demanded full security checks at all transport hubs today and lashed out at the airport for lax security.

Putin has built much of his reputation on harsh statements, and the Russian news agencies that reported his comments today did not say whether he specified what kind of retribution or against whom.

No claims of responsibility have been made for the attack yesterday at Domodedovo Airport, which also left 180 people injured. However, suspicion is likely to fall on Islamist separatist insurgents from Chechnya or elsewhere in Russia's restive Caucasus region.

Chechen insurgents have claimed responsibility for an array of attacks in Moscow and elsewhere in Russia, including a double suicide bombing on the capital's subway system in March 2010 that killed 40 people.

Medvedev described security at the airport as being in "a state of anarchy" and said management there must bear key responsibility for security failures that contributed to Monday's blast. He also said government officials would be held accountable for any security lapses.

Airport management objected, saying the inspection of people coming into the international arrivals area, where the bombing took place, is the responsibility of transport police.

The finger-pointing could undermine confidence in Russia's security ahead of Medvedev's high-profile appearance this week trying to attract investors at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The attack also called into question Russia's ability to safely host major international events like the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2018 World Cup.

Aviation security experts have been warning since the 11 September, 2001, attacks that the crowds at many airports present tempting targets to suicide bombers.

The attack exposed the unprotected underbelly of airport security — the international arrivals area, packed with families, taxi drivers and businesspeople, all of whom do not have to go through airport security. Few airports in the world control the entrances to such areas.

The Emergencies Ministry said the dead included one person each from Britain, Germany, Austria, Ukraine, Tajikistan. Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan; 16 were Russians and the remaining 12 had not been identified. A further 110 people, including nine foreigners, were hospitalised, it said.