‘Terrorism will never be justified’

A woman and her daughter cry at a symbolic memorial at Sennaya subway station in St. Petersburg, Russia, April 4. A bomb blast tore through a subway train deep under Russia’s second-largest city St. Petersburg April 3, killing several people and wounding many more in a chaotic scene that left victims sprawled on a smoky platform. / AP-Yonhap

Russian Ambassador to Korea Alexander Timonin

Russia’s envoy speaks about attack

By Rachel Lee

The April 3 blast on the St. Petersburg metro system will never be justified as it was a crime against all of humanity and against all religions without exception, Russia’s top envoy says.

“I would also like to remind that terrorism has no nationality,” Russian Ambassador to Korea Alexander Timonin told The Korea Times. “It is also unacceptable to connect terrorism with someone’s national background or religious beliefs.”

On April 3, the blast ripped through an underground train in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, killing 14 and injuring 50 more. So far no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, and investigators have not announced a motive.

The suspected bomber was one of the 14 killed; authorities identified him as 22-year-old Akbarzhon Jalilov, a Kyrgyz-born Russian citizen.

This attack was known as the worst terrorist attack outside the North Caucasus since two suicide bombers killed 32 people in Volgograd in four years ago.

“Whatever were their motives, another thing is the point of utmost importance. Terrorism will never be justified,” the diplomat said. “This is the common approach of the whole international community.”

The diplomat said that it was too early to talk about any organizations at the present stage, which could stand behind humand crime in St. Petersburg.

According to the Russian Investigation Committee, the personality of the suicide bomber who committed the blast in the subway train is identified, but nevertheless the investigation process is underway, and Russia would be able to determine the organization responsible for the terrorist attack only upon completion of the investigation, he added.

“I am convinced that solidarity, which was expressed not only by our allies but also by virtually all the states and what is more significant, by common people, reflects understanding of the necessity to join efforts in fight against terrorism,” the ambassador said.

“I would also like to use this opportunity and express my sincere appreciation to acting President of Korea Hwang Kyo-ahn and Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se for passing words of support and condolences to the Russian government and people.”

Flowers are laid in front of Embassy of Russia on April 4. / Courtesy of Russian Embassy

To root out terrorism around the world, Moscow has made efforts to fight it and remain constant for many years, Timonin said.

“The President of the Russian Federation thoroughly introduced Russian views at the fight against terrorism at the General Assembly of the United Nations 70th Session in September 2015 and reiterated it recently during phone conversations with U.S. President and leaders of Turkey, Japan, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia and other countries who called after the tragedy to express their condolences,” the envoy said.

Calling terrorism a “global threat undermining security of all the countries of the world,” Timonin said that in these circumstances, it is hypocritical and irresponsible to make declarations about the threat of terrorism and at the same time turn a blind eye to the channels used to finance and support terrorists, including revenues from drug trafficking, the illegal oil trade and the arms trade.

“It is equally irresponsible to manipulate extremist groups and use them to achieve someone’s political goals, hoping that later one will find a way to get rid of terrorists or somehow eliminate them. We consider that any attempts to flirt with terrorists, let alone arm them, are shortsighted and criminal acts,” he said.

“Russia proposes to draw upon common values and common interests rather than ambitions. Relying on international law, we must join efforts to address the problems that all of us are facing, and create a genuinely broad international coalition against terrorism. Terrorism is an evil that must be fought by joint efforts.”

After the attack, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences and sympathy to the families of those killed and injured.

The president said he spoke with representatives of security agencies and the FSB director. Its law enforcement and security agencies have been working to establish the cause of the explosion and provide their assessments of the situation. City authorities, and if needed, federal authorities, will take the necessary measures to help the families of those affected by the blast, the leader said.

“The reasons behind it are not clear yet, and so it would be premature to speak about them. The investigation is ongoing,” Putin said.

“Of course, we always consider all scenarios, including accidental or criminal action, and above all, those of a terrorist nature. The ongoing investigation will soon provide answers regarding the causes of this tragedy.”

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