— CNN (@CNN) April 3, 2017
According to the Russian News Agency TASS and other state-run or friendly media outlets, at least 11 people were killed Monday afternoon when an explosion went off in a busy train station in St. Petersburg, Russia. CNN notes the explosion occurred in the same subway car, at the same time, while it was parked in the busy metro station. BBC News initially reported the precise cause of the explosion at the Sennaya Ploshchad station wasn’t known, though the Associated Press later indicated an “explosive device was set off” on the train. No details were available at the time.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told state-controlled media that Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was in St. Petersburg for a speaking engagement early Monday, was aware of the blast. Whether or not Putin’s visit has to do with the explosion — let along whether or not he was a target — remains to be seen. Emergency crews are still on the scene attending to the dead and injured.
— CNN (@CNN) April 3, 2017
Aside from multiple reports on CNN International, BBC News and others international media outlets, Russian metro users who witnessed the initial blast and the aftermath began posting photos and videos to social media. Per one Twitter video found by BuzzFeed News, the underground halls of the metro station were filled with smoke from the blast as commuters fled the scene.
Первое видео с места взрыва. pic.twitter.com/h9OLqqVXw4
— Эхо Москвы (@EchoMskRu) April 3, 2017
UPDATE #1: According to CNN, the explosion occurred not at the Sennaya Ploshchad station itself, but in the subway tunnel between it and another station. What’s more, Russian media reports at least 50 people were injured in addition to the 11 dead mentioned previously.
Meanwhile, President Putin expressed his condolences for the victims’ families while delivering brief remarks on the matter at another event:
“The reasons for the explosion are unknown, so it’s too early to talk about it. The investigation will show what happened,” Putin said, beginning a meeting with Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko.
“Naturally, we always consider all options — both domestic and criminal, primarily incidents of a terrorist nature.”
UPDATE #2: More videos and photos from the explosion’s aftermath are spreading across social media, including the below clip of the actual subway car. All of the train’s windows were blown out, and the sliding doors were evidently peeled out by the force of the blast.
— Алексей Кириленко (@Kirilenko_a) April 3, 2017
UPDATE #3: Russian media outlets reduced the reported number of dead down to nine, though the frightening magnitude of the explosion remains the same. In addition, National Anti-terrorism Committee spokesperson Andrei Przhezdomsky told Russia 24 a second explosive device was found at Revolutionary Square. However, the authorities were able to render it inoperable before any more damage was done. Przhezdomsky’s statement, as well as Putin’s comments and those of other personnel on the scene, suggest Monday’s blast was a terrorist act.
UPDATE #4: While initial reports of “twin blasts” were reduced to a single explosion following a second device’s discovery in another station, CNN now reports at least 11 people are dead.
UPDATE #5: According to the BBC, Interfax is investigating a suspect described as a “23-year-old man from Central Asia known to have links to radical Islam.”