MOSCOW: Vitaly Mutko has promised that Russia will not be deflected from its staging of international sports events by security concerns following the terrorist attack on the St Petersburg metro.
The Deputy Prime Minister and former Sports Minister was speaking after 10 people were killed and 37 injured in the city which will host the Opening Match and Final of the FIFA Confederations Cup in June and July.
The Confederations Cup is a warm-up event for the World Cup which Russia hosts next year.
Mutko is a retiring member of the governing council of world football federation FIFA and president of the Russia 2018 local World Cup organising committee.
He said: “This is an enormous tragedy for the city and the country, people died and nobody can be indifferent. It is difficult to choose words and I offer my condolences to the city and the families of victims.”
An unspecified explosive device went off at about 11:40 GMT in a stretch between the Tekhnologichesky Institut and Sennaya Ploshchad subway stations in St Petersburg. Russia’s Investigative Committee has qualified the blast as a terror attack.
Mutko added: “I hope that our law enforcement bodies will establish the cause of the tragedy and will resort to all the necessary measures in order to avoid the recurrence of such incidents. Terrorism has no borders, this is an international tragedy and global efforts should be united to fight it.”
Mutko said: “I do not think that attempts to discredit our country in this regard would have any success. All our partners, international sports organizations and all countries well know that Russia had been and will always be setting the highest possible standards in the fight against terrorism.
“It will be beyond the levels of humane understanding in case somebody in the world tries to make use of this tragedy for the sake of political interests.”
The Confederations Cup will be held between June 17 and July 2 at four stadiums in Russia and they are Moscow’s Otkritie-Arena, the St. Petersburg Arena, Sochi’s Fisht Arena and the Kazan-Arena.
The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums in Moscow, St Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.