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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

FSB Apprehends Explosion Suspects

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Investigators on Wednesday detained two men from the Caucasus suspected of involvement in the Pushkin Square explosion but said they were not yet convinced they had found the right men and were still looking.

President Vladimir Putin urged the nation not to jump to the conclusion that Chechens were behind Tuesday's blast. "I believe it would be wrong to look for any ethnic trace - a Chechen trace or any other trace," Putin said in a televised address.

"One cannot put a stamp on an entire nation because crime has no nationality nor confession," he said.

Click here to read our Special Report on the bombings.Prosecutors said Wednesday they have not even determined for sure that the blast was a terrorist act. They have not ruled out that it was an act of violence related to organized crime or to settle a personal conflict, Interfax reported, citing Deputy Prosecutor General Yury Biryukov.

Putin's comments came on the heels of statements by Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov and others who directly or indirectly put the blame on the Chechens.

Various Chechen leaders Wednesday urged Moscow not to automatically blame the Chechens.

Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov denied his fighters were behind the explosion, Reuters reported, citing Chechenpress, a Georgia-based Internet news agency. The Chechenpress site could not be accessed Wednesday.

Akhmad Kadyrov, the Kremlin-appointed Chechen leader, urged officials not to fuel suspicions that Chechens were involved.

But Talgat Tadzhutdin, one of Russia's leading muftis, said in remarks reported by Interfax that he was "inclined" to suspect Wahhabis, members of an ultra orthodox Islamic sect active in Chechnya.

Luzhkov told NTV that two men came to a kiosk in the underpass that sold theater tickets and wanted to pay for their tickets in dollars. When the vendor refused, they walked away saying they were going to change money and left behind a briefcase, which is believed to have contained the explosive device.

Valentin Vlasov, deputy head of the Moscow FSB, said in an interview on ORT television Wednesday that the bomb - equivalent to 500 grams of TNT - was indeed in a bag left by the kiosk by two men.

The FSB, or Federal Security Service, said it detained two suspects who fit the descriptions of the two men spotted moments before the explosion. One is from Chechnya, and the other from Dagestan. Interfax identified them as Akhmed Isayev, 31, and Magomed Magomedov, 27.

An FSB spokeswoman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the men were carrying heroin and "Wahhabi literature." Their link to the explosion is not yet definite, she said by telephone.

Vlasov said investigators were still looking for possible suspects.

The Interior Ministry distributed composite sketches of three suspects: two men with dark hair and eyes and another said to have Slavic features.

Police have stepped up security measures in the city. Deputy Mayor Valery Shantsev said more than 20,000 police officers - including Interior Ministry troops based in Moscow and city police usually assigned to desk work - will work 12-hour days with one day off as part of Operation Whirlwind. Police patrols in the metro, train stations, airports and places where large numbers of people congregate will be intensified, while attics, basements and vehicles coming into Moscow will be checked, Shantsev said at a news conference. He said it was unclear how long the operation would last.

Shantsev said that while sales in underground passageways will not be banned, it was important to "increase measures of control" over such sales.

Police found a bag containing 4 kilograms of TNT and detonators in the lost-and-found room at the Kazansky Station in Moscow on Wednesday. Interior Ministry Colonel Mikhail Buts said the detonators were not connected to the TNT and there was no danger of an explosion, but police were investigating a possible link to Tuesday's blast.

Berezovsky Calls For Chechnya Talks



Boris Berezovsky blamed the bombing on the Kremlin's military operation in Chechnya and called for negotiations to end the war.

The bombings "will happen again more than once if the policy of 'smashing the bandits in their lairs' continues," Berezovsky said at a news conference. "There is only one way of dealing with terrorists - through negotiation. No other way exists."



http://www.themoscowtimes.com/indexes/85.html Click here to read our Special Report on the bombings.