Thirteen people were injured when an explosive device went off at a bustling Perekrestok supermarket store in northwest St Petersburg on Wednesday night.
In a statement today, Russian leader Putin said the homemade device loaded with shrapnel and 200 grams of TNT was detonated by terrorists.
“A terror attack was committed in St Petersburg yesterday. The Federal Security Service recently thwarted another attempted terror attack,” Putin said at a meeting with military chiefs.
Putin has ordered Russia’s security service, the Federal Security Service, to shoot terrorists on sight should the lives of police officers or medics be in danger.
The Russian leader said he has “instructed the director of the Federal Security Service to act within the law, only the law, while working with these terrorists, while detaining them”.
“However, if there is a threat to the lives and health of our employees, our officers, to act decisively, not to capture anyone and eliminate gunmen on the spot,” the president added.
BLAST HORROR: At least 13 people are injured after the blast at a store in St Petersburg
TERROR ATTACK: Russia leader Vladimir Putin said the blast was a ‘terror attack’
Eight of the 13 people injured in the attack remain in hospital, but none are thought to be in a critical condition.
Thousands of shoppers were said to be in the store when the bomb was detonated at around 6.45pm local time (3.45pm GMT).
The bomb was hidden in a locker where customers store their bags at the store in the Kalininsky district of the city, according to local reports.
HIGH ALERT: A police officer stands guard outside the supermarket after a bomb went off
“A terror attack was committed in St Petersburg yesterday.”
Russia president Vladimir Putin
Russia’s national counter-terror agency has launched a manhunt for the suspects responsible for the atrocity.
A criminal investigation has been launched.
No terror group has claimed responsibilty for the attack and the motive remains unclear.
EMERGENCY CREW: A fire fighter walks past the bomb-hit supermarket in St Petersburg
Dramatic footage showed fire engines and police cars flooding to the market in Russia’s second biggest city.
Viktoria Gordeyeva, who was at the scene at the time of the explosion, said shoppers were reluctant to enter other stores over fears of more attacks.
“There was no panic, but people were reluctant to enter a nearby drug store and a grocery store,” she said.
The attack comes after Putin called US President Donald Trump to thank him for a CIA tip off that helped him thwart a series of bombings in St Petersburg.