Monday, December 30, 2013

Russia's Volgograd hit by second terror attack in two days - Sunday a suicide bomber hit a major train station , Monday morning a trolley bus was attacked . Terror before the upcoming Olympics ( 6 weeks away ) will raise security fears even higher ! How ddoes Putin respond to ease warranted security concerns of further terror attacks ?


Volgograd Rocked By Second Suicide Bombing In 24 Hours, 14 Killed

Tyler Durden's picture






Just barely hours after we covered the second deadly explosion in the southern Russian city of Volgograd in as many months, this time in its packed train station, the city was rocked by yet another suicide bombing in what is clearly a terrorist campaign to spook Russia and its Sochi winter games visitors just over a month ahead of the olympics.  This time, a bomb ripped apart a trolleybus killing all 14 people aboard, and wounding another 28 in the second deadly attack blamed on suicide bombers.  According to Reuters, "Investigators said they believed a male suicide bomber set off the blast, a day after a similar attack killed at least 17 in the main rail station of a city that serves as a gateway to the southern wedge of Russian territory bounded by the Black and Caspian Seas and the Caucasus mountains." Even Putin, so far non-committal, is starting to take these daily escalations seriously: "President Vladimir Putin, who has staked his prestige on February's Sochi Games and dismissed threats from Chechen and other Islamist militants in the nearby North Caucasus, ordered tighter security nationwide after the morning rush-hour blast."
Sunday's attack was the deadliest to strike the ethnic Russian heartlands since January 2011, when a male suicide bomber from the North Caucasus killed 37 people in the arrivals hall of a busy Moscow airport.
There is practically no question that the two blasts were coordinated and arranged by the same group: the bomb used was packed with "identical" shrapnel to that in the rail station, indicating they may have been made in the same place and supporting suspicions the bombings were linked, said Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the investigators. Health Ministry spokesman Oleg Salagai said 14 people were killed and 28 wounded in the bombing on Monday.
And while this could merely be the retaliation by Saudi Arabia, as we reported yesterday, for Russia's foiling of its Syrian plans and thus merely chess in the grand scheme of thing, to the people on the ground the terrorist escalations are all too real.
A Reuters journalist saw the blue and white trolleybus - a bus powered by overhead electric cables - reduced to a twisted, gutted carcass, its roof blown off and bodies and debris strewn across the street. Windows in nearby apartments were blown out by the explosion, which investigators called a "terrorist act".

"For the second day, we are dying. It's a nightmare," a woman near the scene said, her voice trembling as she choked back tears. "What are we supposed to do, just walk now?"

"There was smoke and people were lying in the street," said Olga, who works nearby. "The driver was thrown a long way. She was alive and moaning ... Her hands and clothes were bloody,"

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Perhaps one should seek a comment from Prince Bandar, who during the summer of 2013implicitly threatened Putin that "the terrorist threat is growing in light of the phenomena spawned by the Arab Spring. We have lost some regimes. And what we got in return were terrorist experiences, as evidenced by the experience of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the extremist groups in Libya.... As an example, I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us..."
And sure enough, these same Chechen groups have made it quite clear that Saudi Arabia is displeased:
In an online video posted in July, the Chechen leader of insurgents who want to carve an Islamic state out of the swathe of mainly Muslim provinces south of Volgograd, urged militants to use "maximum force" to prevent the Games from going ahead. "Terrorists in Volgograd aim to terrorize others around the world, making them stay away from the Sochi Olympics," said Dmitry Trenin, an analyst with the Moscow Carnegie Centre.
So now the world looks to Putin:
In power since 2000, Putin secured the Games for Russia and has staked his reputation on a safe and successful Olympics, even freeing jailed opponents including oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the Pussy Riot punk band to remove a cause for international criticism at the event.

Putin was first elected after winning popularity for a war against Chechen rebels, but attacks by Islamist militants whose insurgency is rooted in that war have clouded his 14 years in power and now confront him with his biggest security challenge.

Police said additional officers were being deployed to railway stations and airports nationwide after the bombing at the Volgograd rail station on Sunday, but the attacks raised questions about the effectiveness of security measures.

The police force in Volgograd, a city of a million people on the west bank of the river Volga, has been depleted as some 600 officers were redeployed to Sochi to tighten security around Olympic sites, a police officer told Reuters.

More attacks can be expected before the Olympics and cities in southern Russia where the Games are not being held are easier targets than Sochi, said Alexei Filatov, a prominent former member of Russia's elite anti-terrorism force, Alfa.

"The threat is greatest now because it is when terrorists can make the biggest impression," he said. "The security measures were beefed up long ago around Sochi, so terrorists will strike instead in these nearby cities like Volgograd."
Perhaps the bigger question is whether Russia will continue to focus on the pawns in the terrorist campaign, or finally shift its attention to the puppetmaster controlling, arming and funding the Islamist militants in the region: one of America's fondest (at least until recently) allies in the region.





http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/12/30/second-bomb-in-russiancityofvolgogradtargetsbus.html





Second deadly bombing in Russian city of Volgograd targets bus

December 30, 2013 12:14AM ET Updated 7:00AM ET
A Monday morning blast that killed at least 14 people followed a deadly explosion at a train station on Sunday
Topics:
 
Russia
 
Olympics
 
International


volgograd


A destroyed trolleybus stands on a street in Volgograd on Dec. 30, 2013.
STR/AFP/Getty Images
A suicide bomber killed at least 14 people and wounded 28 aboard an electric bus in the southern Russian city of Volgograd during the Monday morning rush hour, and authorities believe it was the work of the same group that set off a bomb at the railway station a day earlier.
Together more than 30 people were killed and 104 injured in the explosions, putting the city of one million on edge and highlighting the terrorist threat Russia is facing as it prepares to host February's Winter Games in Sochi, President Vladimir Putin's pet project.
While insurgents may find it hard to get to the tightly-guarded Olympic facilities, the bombings have shown they can hit civilian targets elsewhere in Russia with shocking ease.
Volgograd, located about 400 miles northeast of Sochi, serves as a key transport hub for southern Russia, with numerous bus routes linking it to volatile provinces in Russia's North Caucasus, where insurgents have been seeking an Islamic state.
Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for Russia's main investigative agency, said Monday's explosion involved a bomb similar to the one used in Sunday's attack at the city's main railway station, in which at least 17 people were killed and scores more were injured.
"That confirms the investigators' version that the two terror attacks were linked," Markin said in a statement. "They could have been prepared in one place."


Volgograd


Volgograd is 550 miles southeast of Moscow and about 600 miles northeast of Sochi.
 

Markin said a suicide attacker was responsible for the Monday bus explosion, reversing an earlier official statement that the blast was caused by a bomb left in the vehicle's passenger area.
No one has claimed responsibility for either bombing, but they come several months after Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov threatened new attacks against civilian targets in Russia, including the Olympics in Sochi.
Suicide bombings and other terror attacks have rocked Russia for years, but most recently have been confined to the North Caucasus region. The successive attacks in Volgograd signaled that militants may be using the transportation hub as a renewed way of showing their reach outside their restive region.
Volgograd, when it was named Stalingrad, was the site of one the most important battles of World War II, in which the Soviets stopped the German advance into the U.S.S.R. The battle holds an important place in the Russian psyche and increases its symbolic value to attackers.
"Volgograd, a symbol of Russia's suffering and victory in World War II, has been singled out by the terrorist leaders precisely because of its status in people's minds," Dmitry Trenin, the head of the Carnegie Endowment's Moscow office, said in a commentary posted on the organization's website.
Because of recent violence, security remains a concern throughout southern Russia ahead of February's Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, which is next to the restless North Caucasus region.
Monday's explosion ripped away much of the bus's exterior and shattered windows in nearby buildings. It virtually paralyzed public transport in the city, forcing many residents to walk long distances to get to work.
Russian authorities have been slow to introduce stringent security checks on bus routes, making them the transport of choice for insurgents in the region. A few months ago authorities introduced a requirement for intercity bus passengers to produce identification when buying tickets, like rail or air passengers, but procedures have remained lax and some of the routes aren't controlled.
Even tight railway security is sometimes not enough. In Sunday's suicide bombing the attacker detonated explosives in the crowd in front of the station's metal detectors.
A suicide bus bombing in Volgograd in October killed six people. On Friday, three people were killed when an explosives-rigged car blew up in the city of Pyatigorsk, the center of a federal administrative district created to oversee Kremlin efforts to stabilize the North Caucasus region.
After the October incident, Russian authorities said they had started taking saliva samples from religiously conservative women in the area, in order to identify the women if they became suicide bombers.  
In Sunday's railroad station blast, the bomber detonated explosives just beyond the station's main entrance when a police sergeant became suspicious and rushed forward, officials said. The officer was killed by the blast, and several other policemen were among some 40 people wounded.
The Interior Ministry ordered police to beef up patrols at railway stations and other transport facilities across Russia. Putin on Monday summoned the chief of the main KGB successor agency and the interior minister to discuss the situation, and sent the former to Volgograd to oversee the probe.
Chechen rebel leader Umarov, who had claimed responsibility for the 2010 and 2011 bombings, ordered a halt to attacks on civilian targets during the mass street protests against Putin in the winter of 2011-12. He reversed that order in July, urging his men to "do their utmost to derail" the Sochi Olympics, which he described as "satanic dances on the bones of our ancestors."
The International Olympics Committee expressed its condolences over Sunday's bombing in Volgograd, but said it was confident of Russia's ability to protect the Games.
Russian Olympic Committee chief Alexander Zhukov said Monday there was no need to take any extra steps to secure Sochi in the wake of the Volgograd bombings, as "everything necessary already has been done."
Still, sports economist and Smith College professor Andrew Zimbalist told Al Jazeera on Friday that the fear of attacks would deter some tourists from attending the Games, which are expected to cost upward of $60 billion — the most in Olympic history, and well over 30 percent more than the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  









Following the horrific terror attack on Sunday at its train station , a second terror attacks rocks the Russian city of Volgograd as a trolley bus is attacked Monday morning.......

http://rt.com/news/volgograd-bus-blast-updates-958/


At least 14 people have been killed in a trolley bus blast in Volgograd, emergency services report, only a day after a suicide bomb ripped through the city's railway station, killing 17. Security has been ramped up across the nation.
Read our full story of the second Volgograd suicide bombing

Monday, December 30

12:23 GMT: Moscow will receive another injured person from Volgograd for treatment, ITAR-TASS learned from the Federal Medical-Biological Agency.
“A special FMBA flight will land in Moscow after 16:00, delivering a patient with mixed injuries.”
The same agency will be dispatching 14 of its specialists to Volgograd on an Emergencies Ministry flight. Aboard the plane will also be two mobile hospital units of the FMBA, the agency said.
12:12 GMT: The United States Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Michael McFaul, has condemned the suicide attacks in Volgograd on behalf of the US. “All my thoughts and prayers – about victims of these heinous atrocities,” McFaul said on his Twitter account.

12:08 GMT: Volgograd may not as an attractive target for terrorists as Olympic Sochi, but hitting it is still quite painful for Russia, Asher Pirt, Researcher in Russian Affairs for the British East-West Centre, told RT that “Sochi is quite a hard target to base the attack, but places like Volgograd are incredibly significant because of the struggle that went on here in 1943; it’s an important place to attack but sadly it’s weaker than Moscow or Saint Petersburg,” he said.
12:00 GMT: The French government condemns the terrorist attacks in Russia, the country’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“France with all decisiveness condemns the terrorist act, which was conducted this morning in Volgograd. This attack, which targeted civilians and public transport, is a cowardly and barbaric action,” it said.
France expressed condolences and its full support to the people of Russia in its fight against terrorism.
11:54 GMT: A representative of the populist Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) has proposed canceling a moratorium on the death penalty in Russia for selected offences.
"Should the moratorium on the death penalty be canceled, there would be much less crime on the territory of the Russian Federation,” a State Duma deputy, Roman Khudyakov, said.
However, the United Russia party has ruled out the possibility of lifting the moratorium.
11:50 GMT:

11:44 GMT: FSB director, Aleksandr Bortnikov, who also chairs the anti-terror committee, has arrived to Volgograd. He is expected to hold an emergency meeting soon.
11:37 GMT: A basketball game scheduled for January 6 has been canceled over security reasons. “We can’t risk people’s lives,” Artem Panchenko, General Manager of Volgograd’s Basketball club "Red October" said.
11:21 GMT: Doctors are now reporting 41 injured, 27 of whom are in hospitals.
11:19 GMT: Deputies from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation have called on President Putin to impose a nationwide day of mourning and cancel all planned entertainment events, saying all festive activities would be “blasphemous and inappropriate”.

11:05 GMT: More than 600 people have volunteered to give blood at the Volgograd regional blood bank, the head doctor Andrey Valikov told RIA Novosti.
Despite an overabundance of blood, people keep showing up all the same. The space in the building is not enough, so the line stretches far outside.
"There is already enough blood. Our needs are well covered, we have more than enough... but we will not refuse anyone," he said.
11:00 GMT: Russian TV programming has experienced changes after the Volgograd attacks, the various channels' respective press offices told RIA Novosti.
The changes had mainly to do with content of a comedic nature, most such programs have been removed and substituted for others.
10:31 GMT: The death toll from the trolley suicide bombing is expected to go up due to the critical condition of many of the injured, Veronika Skvortsova - head of the Russian Ministry of Health, told Interfax.
"At this time, there are 14 fatalities already. Twelve people have died on the spot. And that figure is not final, it is expected to grow," she told the Rossiya 24 channel.
A security gurad of the RZhD Okhrana company checks visitors at Moscow's Kazan Train Station. (RIA Novosti / Maksim Blinov)
A security gurad of the RZhD Okhrana company checks visitors at Moscow's Kazan Train Station. (RIA Novosti / Maksim Blinov)

10:30 GMT: Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko voiced condolences to Russia over the Volgograd suicide bombings.
“We in the Republic of Belarus have learned with great grief the tragic news about the deaths in the terrorist attacks in the city of Volgograd,” Lukashenko’s message to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, said.
“Individuals behind those inhuman deeds have no excuse,” it added.
The Belarus leader wished a speedy recovery to the survivors of the two bombings.
10:25 GMT: The identities of the victims of the railway station bombing have been determined, according to a statement by the governor's office of the Volgograd region, RIA Novosti reports.
"At present, all the identities of the of the victims of the railway station blast have been confirmed. Fourteen people have died at the scene, three of them later at hospitals," a statement said, adding that there are 12 men and five women among them.
10:23 GMT: Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko voiced condolences to Russia due to the Volgograd suicide bombings.
“We at the Republic of Belarus have learned with great grief the tragic news about the deaths in the terrorist attacks in the city of Volgograd,” Lukashenko’s message to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin said.
“Individuals behind those inhuman deeds have no excuse,” it added.
The Belarus leader wished recovery to survivors of the two bombings.

10:09 GMT: Russian security troops killed three militants, who were planning terrorist attacks during the New Year holidays, Russia’s National Antiterrorist Committee reported.
The three militants, including a gang leader, were blockaded and killed on Monday in Kabardino-Balkar Republic in Russia’s North Caucasus. All of them were on the federal wanted list for crimes, including the killings of two Penitentiary Service officers, the statement said.
A woman with a little girl was in the house at the time it was surrounded. Both were released by the militants and escorted to a safe distance by security forces. The militants refused to surrender and were killed in the ensuing firefight. Two security troops received minor injuries in the operation, the committee said.
10:05 GMT: The suicide bomber behind the bombing of the Volgograd railway station may be Pavel Pechenkin, a security source told Interfax. He was born in the city of Volzhsk in Mari El republic in central Russia. In spring 2012, he joined a Dagestan-based militant gang after converting to Islam and changing his name to Ansar ar-Rusi, the source said. The information was not officially confirmed.
A DNA test of the remains of the bomber is currently being conducted. The news agency’s source said Pechenking’s father donated a blood sample to match against that of the terrorist.
Agents of law enforcement and operative services work at the site of an explosion on a trolleybus near Kachinsky Market in Volgograd (RIA Novosti)
Agents of law enforcement and operative services work at the site of an explosion on a trolleybus near Kachinsky Market in Volgograd (RIA Novosti)

10:01 GMT: There is a heavy police presence in town, various officers, including canine units, are performing checks and searches, with particular attention being paid to the migrants, ITAR-TASS reports.
09:47 GMT: The combined total of victims of the Volgograd terror attacks stands at 32, with 72 more people injured, the Emergencies Ministry reported.
09:37 GMT: A million rubles will be given to the families of the victims of the bus blast; others will receive 200,000 to 400,000 rubles, depending on the injuries, authorities have said.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has made the order.
09:33 GMT: Orthodox Christian churches are praying for the victims of the two suicide bombings in Volgograd. Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, said a special prayer for those currently in hospital in the wake of the attacks, his office reported.
Churches throughout Volgograd are holding special services in commemoration of those killed in the bombings and for the health of the survivors.
“For years our long-suffering land enjoyed a time of peace and calm. Now some forces are trying to seed panic among our people and instill fear in our souls. That will not happen,” Metropolitan German of Volgograd stated.
Volgograd residents in the Dzerzhinsky district, where an explosion went off on a trolleybus. (RIA Novosti / Kirill Braga)
Volgograd residents in the Dzerzhinsky district, where an explosion went off on a trolleybus. (RIA Novosti / Kirill Braga)

09:18 GMT: The Red Square, previously cordoned off because of a suspicious bag, has once again been opened up; the woman who had left the bag was later found to be mentally ill.
09:17 GMT: The Volgograd region has declared a period of mourning, starting on Monday for the victims of the two latest bombings. This is a 48 hour extension of the commemoration, which was originally intended to run from Wednesday to Friday.
09:16 GMT: Russian pole vault champion, Elena Isinbayeva, who was born in Volgograd, says she is shocked by the terrorist attacks on her home city.
“I find it difficult to say anything right now. I’m shocked. Nobody among my family or friends suffered, but I am scared, simply scared,” she told Itar-Tass.
09:15 GMT: A doctor at a diagnostics lab told RT that "yesterday, at the time of the blast I was near the railway station. I saw everything. I saw the blast, I saw the bodies, and I helped to evacuate people. Now I’ve come here [to Volgograd’s regional blood center] to donate blood. If it were possible to donate 1 liter, I would have done it. It’s really scary when you see something like this. I’ll never forget it."
09:11 GMT: Authorities have discounted the idea that there was a second device near the trolley blast site.
Agents of the Investigative Committee work at the site of an explosion on a trolleybus near Kachinsky Market in Volgograd. (RIA Novosti / Kirill Braga)
Agents of the Investigative Committee work at the site of an explosion on a trolleybus near Kachinsky Market in Volgograd. (RIA Novosti / Kirill Braga)

09:03 GMT: Andrey Valikov, chief doctor at Volgograd’s regional blood center told RT that "after yesterday’s blast we received more than 16 liters of blood. In a short period of time (1-1.5 hours) after the tragedy, hospitals were supplied with blood. We have enough blood and if hospitals need more, they’ll receive it. During the night we received many calls from people who would like to help somehow. Also we had many volunteers who came in the morning, and expect around 300 people to come and donate blood. Though we have enough blood, we’ll accept everyone today and tomorrow; we won’t refuse anyone because we understand that people are trying to help the victims of the terrorist attacks."
09:00 GMT: Moscow's most central point, the Red Square, is currently being evacuated as a safety precaution. A suspicious bag has been discovered, prompting the authorities to cordon off the entire area.
08:53 GMT: Russian Railways advised passengers to arrive early to stations because it ramped up the security checks and screening may take additional time. The company calls on the people to immediately report any suspicious objects to police officers.
08:45 GMT: Vladimir Bugaev, an eyewitness told RT:
"I was going home from work, I was giving a lift to a woman, to a co-worker of mine who lives nearby. As I was turning around I heard an exploration. I was already waiting in a queue and another driver asked me “What’s happening?”. Somebody said “There must be an explosion somewhere”. We heard a cry a way ahead, I drove up to save some children but I was told the only wounded person there was a driver. So I drove up to a driver, his name was Sergey. I was told the person who was selling tickets for the trolley bus was dead. I saw about six dead bodies myself."
Another eyewitness, Evgeniy Volchansky, said that "we saw debris, remains of bodies, there was very strong smell of things burning and of TNT. Very soon the police showed up and representatives of the governor, investigative activities started, there were a lot of people trying to offer help."
08:41 GMT: Vladimir Markin of the investigative committee has confirmed the connection to between the Sunday and Monday bombings.

08:40 GMT: President Putin has given new orders to boost security measures across the entire country, with special attention paid to Volgograd, the anti-terror committee said.
08:31 GMT: The death toll rises to 14 people. 27 are now hospitalized, two of whom are in critical condition.
08:30 GMT: An explosion equal in strength to 4 kilograms of TNT took place in the attack, according to the investigative committee.
08:00 GMT: The president of Russia's Olympic Committee, Aleksandr Zhukov told ITAR-TASS that "as far as the Olympics in Sochi are concerned, all precautionary measures have been taken... I don't think any further measures in the aftermath of the Volgograd terror attack are going to be taken, we are confident that everything that could have been done, was."
Among the security measures are special spectator ID cards and other state-of-the-art technologies.
07:50 GMT: Arthur Atayev, Russia’s Institute of Strategic Research told RT that "the purpose is to destabilize all of Southern Russia, especially in the run up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi. 
Those behind the attack pursue the goal of showing to their own investors in turn that terrorism, jihadism is bearing fruit, it's profitable and has a foothold in Southern Russia. 
Right now it’s very difficult to sort out who the specific sponsors or clients are, but if you analyze the terrorist underground in the North Caucuses or in the world in general, you can come to the conclusion that those customers are part of a complicated chain, and if you go to the top, you arrive at certain political forces that are located outside Russia and they have been launching destabilizing processes in the country for a long time in order to reduce its foreign policy influence and also the influence of the Federal state in Russian regions."
07:45 GMT: The aftermath of the deadly trolley blast.
07:42 GMT: The number of dead has risen to 13 people, an ITAR-TASS source reported. Cell phone cam footage, however, is being collected from bystanders.
07:41 GMT: The bus was from a time before video surveillance started to be used in public transportation, complicating the investigation of how the situation transpired inside at the time of the blast.
07:40 GMT: The number of wounded in the trolley bus incident has risen to 28 people, 22 of which have been hospitalized. A five to six-month old child is in critical condition, a spokesman told the Rossiya 24 channel.
07:30 GMT: Coroners have identified 17 victims of the Sunday blast at the railway station - among them two children, sources tell Interfax.
07:26 GMT: Aleksey Popov, former member of an Alpha Special Forces unit, believes one possible reason for the bombing could be to dissuade people from coming to the Sochi Winter Olympics.
"All the attacks in Volgograd are a part of the same chain. Terrorists try to spread fear ahead of the Winter Olympics so that people become scared to go to Sochi. No wonder they have chosen the holiday season to make it even more painful for the people and to draw plenty of world attention. But I believe it won’t have any effect on the Olympics and the people who were planning to come will still do it. They are safety because almost $2 billion was allocated to security measures, that’s even more than the sum for London."
07:12 GMT: Gordon Hahn of the Center of International Strategy told RT the reason that other major cities might not have been targeted in the two blasts:
"It’s harder to penetrate there, so they decided it will be easy to strike Russian city closer to the North Caucuses.
Suicide bomb attacks are carried out in Russia by mujahidin. It’s very likely that a group affiliated with the Caucasus Emirate could be involved and we talked about ethnic Russian suicide bombers, which these organizations try to recruit."
"Another possible perpetrator is a mujahidin who converted into Islam about a decade ago and eventually joined the mujahidin. He is a former Russian military person by the name of Pavel Kosolapov and he is from Volgograd. He was involved in a train bombing back in 2007 and suspected of several other bombings. He also claims he is responsible for a train bombing in 2009. He was silent since then so we can consider the possibility that he was planning the 'big show' all these years."
Agents of law enforcement and operative services work at the site of an explosion on a trolleybus near Kachinsky Market in Volgograd. (RIA Novosti / Kirill Braga)
Agents of law enforcement and operative services work at the site of an explosion on a trolleybus near Kachinsky Market in Volgograd. (RIA Novosti / Kirill Braga)

07:10 GMT: Volgograd emergency help phone lines have been set up.
07:05 GMT: CCTV cam footage is being collected by security services.
07:00 GMT: Rumors of other terror attacks in Volgograd - namely the tram blast or the attack that supposedly occurred at the 'Monolith' factory - are completely unfounded, Svetlana Smolyanova, head spokeswoman for the Volgograd Region interior ministry told Interfax.
"There are no other bombings to report. People have constantly been phoning in with questions regarding that, but there's nothing to confirm the rumors."
06:58 GMT: Moscow security has likewise been ramped up, regional security head Aleksey Mayorov tells Interfax.
06:50 GMT: A number of companies in Volgograd are contributing to the transportation, providing commuters with rides to work. People are terrified of using public transportation services.
06:41 GMT: The FSB now officially says there is a strong chance today's trolley bus blast is connected to yesterday afternoon's railway station suicide bombing.
06:40 GMT: The Ministry of Health now puts the number of injured at 25. Doctors from a special unit dealing with catastrophic-accident injuries are soon to arrive.
06:37 GMT: An eyewitness told reporters that there is currently a "transportation breakdown" in Volgograd, it is at a standstill.

06:36 GMT: Alina Averyasova, eyewitness: [before the blast] everything was as usual up until the blast itself. Just before the blast everything was calm and peaceful. We were sleeping at home because today is a holiday. And just after the blast panic took off.
06:31 GMT:
06:30 GMT: Eyewitness, Alina Averyasova, says that "at the moment of the explosion I was asleep, I woke up because of an enormous blast. I heard the glass shattering in the first two stories of the building. I looked out the window, it was still dark, and I saw a bus that was ripped by a blast and people were running away from it screaming. Some of them were wounded, a lot of people were panicking... Within minutes a police car and an ambulance and a fire engine drove up. All the roads and streets were sealed off, nobody could approach the area, people got evacuated, nobody could approach. Police came over and started looking for a bomb nearby. this is all that I saw and I was very scared."
06:26 GMT: The blast was of such magnitude that it shattered the windows on neighboring shops and apartment buildings, authorities tell reporters.
06:25 GMT: Burns and multiple traumas have been sustained by the victims of the trolley blast. Moscow is standing by to receive more wounded, if the need arises, health ministry head Veronika Skvortsova told RIA Novosti.
06:18 GMT: FSB director, Aleksandr Botnikov, has been ordered by the President to fly to the scene, RIA Novosti reports.
Agents of law enforcement and operative services work at the site of an explosion on a trolleybus near Kachinsky Market in Volgograd. (RIA Novosti / Kirill Braga)
Agents of law enforcement and operative services work at the site of an explosion on a trolleybus near Kachinsky Market in Volgograd. (RIA Novosti / Kirill Braga)

06:20 GMT: The situation is being handled effectively - no shortage in medicine has been reported and efforts by emergency services are proving to be quite effective.
06:16 GMT: The number of fatalities varies from at least 10 to 15 at this point, as official sources differ on the matter.
06:13 GMT: Ministry of Health spokesperson said a child has been badly injured and is in critical condition.
06:06 GMT: The Emergencies Ministry has strongly tightened security in Volgograd. Teams of psychologists and other doctors are also being dispatched to the scene of the blast, the ministry reported. Their plane is to leave Moscow at 10:30AM local time.
06:00 GMT: "We are terrified. Everyone disembarked from buses and trams to walk on foot. I live 200 meters away from that place, I was just passing it on my way to work," Sergey Stukalov, an eyewitness, told RIA Novosti.
Sergey also said that the blast occurred on the No.15 trolley route, connecting a suburb to Volgograd's downtown area.
Members of the emergency services work at the site of a bomb blast on a trolleybus in Volgograd December 30, 2013. (Reuters / Sergei Karpov)
Members of the emergency services work at the site of a bomb blast on a trolleybus in Volgograd December 30, 2013. (Reuters / Sergei Karpov)

05:55 GMT: Panic has spread on Twitter, describing yet another blast - this time in a busy tram. However, the rumors have since been proven false.
05:50 GMT: "The people are in a state of shock and bewilderment. A second terrorist attack in two days....a third in recent months. I was there 15 minutes after the explosion occurred," Artem Tolkachev, an eyewitness, told Life News.
05:47 GMT:

05:43 GMT: The death toll from the blast has risen to 15 people, with a further 23 receiving injuries, the Volgograd Region's vice-governor Vasiliy Galushin told Interfax.
"The emergency services have reacted very swiftly. All those injured have been taken to hospitals, as their identities are being determined," he said.
05:41 GMT:

05:37 GMT: According to witness reports to ITAR-TASS, there were many students on the bus.
"There was a loud 'pop', then a flash, everything was enveloped in smoke," one female witness said, describing the sudden realization.
05:34 GMT: The Investigative Committee now puts the number of injured at 15.
05:30 GMT: In describing the character of the blast, ITAR-TASS law enforcement sources have said that it appears to be a suicide attack, "judging from the body fragments characteristic of such a bombing."
05:28 GMT: President Vladimir Putin has met with the head of Russia's FSB, Aleksandr Bortnikov, who has briefed him on the situation, the Kremlin press office reported.
05:25 GMT:



05:23 GMT: The Investigative Committee's spokesman has informed the press the incident is being treated as an act of terror.
05:21 GMT: Bodies were seen scattered next to the vehicle, which has been split nearly in half by the powerful blast, which took place as the trolley was passing one of the city's busy markets.
05:17 GMT: Police are currently at the scene investigating.


05:00 GMT: Authorities have reason to believe the trolley blast may also be a terrorist act, as the signature closely matches the one witnessed in yesterday's railway station bombing, the Investigative Committee told RIA Novosti
05:00 GMT: A trolley bus blast has claimed 10 lives in Volgograd, just one day after 17 lives were lost in the city's railway station explosion in a suicide bombing.