Putin said, “The international terrorism that has challenged many countries continues to represent a serious threat for our country.”
“It is a ruthless, serious, treacherous enemy. Innocent people suffer from their activity.”
Though Putin did not say whom he thought was responsible, the rebel Chechen government headed by President Aslan Maskhadov released a statement, which denied any involvement.
“We repeat that the Chechen government is guided by the principles of international humanitarian law,” according to the statement. “We therefore condemn any acts of violence that directly or indirectly target the civilian population anywhere in the world.”
Three women and one man were involved in the attack, though two of the women may have jumped from the train before the explosion, according to authorities.
The explosion occurred during a busy morning rush hour when the train was loaded with many students and workers. It ripped the side of the train open as it approached a station near Yessentuki, 750 miles south of Moscow, the Associated Press reported.
“The blast was so strong that it smashed all the windows, ” a woman told First Channel television. “The cup of tea I was drinking was sent flying. I felt as though I had been picked up and put back down again.”
“We will find those who did it,” said Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov, according to Interfax news agency. “The earth will be burning under their feet.”
In September, six people were killed in two bombings on the same train line. No group ever claimed responsibility.
Chechen separatists have carried out a wave of suicide bombings this year — many of the bombers were women. Dozens of people in Chechnya and other areas of Russia have died in attacks.
Friday’s attack comes only days before parliamentary elections. The United Russia party, backed by Putin, is gaining support, according to the most recent polls. Putin has vowed to squelch the Chechen separatist movement and sent Russian forces into the region in 1999.