MOSCOW, April 3. /TASS/. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko expressed his condolences over deadly blast at a metro station in St. Petersburg earlier on Monday and warned against using this tragedy to discredit planned international sports events in Russia.
"This is an enormous tragedy for the city and the country, people died and nobody can be indifferent," Mutko, who oversees issues regarding sports, tourism and youth policies in the country, said in an interview with TASS. "It is difficult to choose words. I condole with the city, with the families of killed and injured."
An unspecified explosive device went off at about 2:40 Moscow time (11:40 GMT) in a stretch between the Tekhnologichesky Institut and Sennaya Ploshchad subway stations in St. Petersburg. According to the Health Ministry’s latest data, ten people died in the blast while another 37 persons were hospitalized with various injuries. Russia’s Investigative Committee has qualified the blast as a terror attack.
"I hope that our law enforcement bodies will establish the cause of the tragedy and will resort to all the necessary measures in order to avoid the recurrence of such incidents," Mutko said. "Terrorism has no borders, this is an international tragedy and global efforts should be united to fight it."
Mutko also said that the incident should be "in no way used to cast the shadow over the country’s preparations for hosting global sports events."
"I do not think that attempts to discredit our country in this regard would have any success," he stated. "All our partners, international sports organizations and all countries well know that Russia had been and will always be setting the highest possible standards in the fight against terrorism."
"It will be beyond the levels of humane understanding in case somebody in the world tries to make use of this tragedy for the sake of political interests," the high-ranking Russian official added.
Russia is currently in full-swing preparations for hosting the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The FIFA Confederations Cup, which is also viewed by experts as a rehearsal, a year prior to the FIFA World Cup, will be held between June 17 and July 2 at four stadiums in Russia and they are Moscow’s Otkritie-Arena, the St. Petersburg Arena, Sochi’s Fisht Arena and the Kazan-Arena. Then official opening and closing ceremonies of the tournament were scheduled to take place in St. Petersburg.
The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums across the country namely in the cities of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.