Politics

Trump Calls Putin After St. Petersburg Explosion

| by Michael Doherty

President Donald Trump spoke on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 3, offering his condolences after a terrorist attack on a St. Petersburg train that day.

Trump and Putin "agreed that terrorism must be decisively and quickly defeated," said the White House in a statement, according to CNBC. The bomb blast reportedly killed 14 people and wounded 50 others.

"President Trump offered the full support of the United States government in responding to the attack and bringing those responsible to justice," said the White House.

The main suspect in the attack, which has been called a suicide bombing according to CNN, was identified as Akbarzhon Jalilov, a Russian citizen born in 1995 who reportedly had links to radical Islam. It is said to be unclear if the bombing was inspired by ISIS, which has not attacked a major city in Russia before.

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Jalilov's DNA was reportedly matched to a second bomb, which authorities defused.

"Criminalists found his DNA on a bag with a bomb left at the Ploshchad Vosstaniya metro station," said investigators in a statement. The bomb had reportedly been concealed inside of a fire extinguisher, and was larger than the device that detonated on the train. The second bomb contained about 2.2 pounds of TNT.

The train reportedly exploded underground, which made the blast more powerful. The train car's door flew off, and people at the scene said that they saw injured passengers whose bodies were charred and bloody.

The victims ranged in age from 16 to 71. DNA testing will reportedly be used to identify more of the victims.

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Authorities have praised the train's driver, Alexander Kaverin, for driving to the next station after the bomb detonated, helping passengers to get off of the train more quickly.

"At that moment there was no question of fear. It was just a question of working, rolling up your sleeves," said Kaverin of his actions during the attack.

"I just acted according to instructions, because we have instructions worked out especially for such cases," he said. "We have had explosions before and I think these instructions are very clever, very correct."

Trump's call with Putin is reportedly the first that the two have had since the president spoke with Putin and four other world leaders shortly after he entered office, according to KTXL.

Trump has faced accusations since the presidential election that the Russian government interfered to influence the election in his favor. FBI Director James Comey announced in March that his agency had opened an investigation into claims that the Trump campaign had worked with Russians to influence the election.

Trump and Putin have both denied accusations of collusion and election interference.

Sources: CNBC, CNN, KTXL / Photo credit: Office of the President of the United States via Wikimedia Commons

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