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Putin: We won't be pushed around

A woman places a candle at the site of Saturday's attacks.
A woman places a candle at the site of Saturday's attacks.

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MOSCOW, Russia -- Vladimir Putin has pointed the finger at Chechen terrorists following the suicide bombs at a rock concert, saying Russia will not be "pushed around."

The Russian president canceled a trip Uzbekistan and Malaysia to stay in Moscow Monday, as security was stepped up in the wake of Saturday's attack which killed 14 people, as well as the women bombers, and injured dozens more.

Nobody has admitted responsibility but security officials blame Chechen militants fighting for independence.

According to the Interfax news agency, Putin told ministers at the Kremlin that Chechens were "not only linked with international terrorist organizations but have become an integral part of them, perhaps the most dangerous part.

"I stress once again that not a single government in the world will be pushed around by terrorists. Nor will Russia.

"The first step in such a direction will mark the beginning of the collapse of the state and the number of victims will rise dozens, hundreds, thousands of times."

Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov declared Tuesday a day of mourning in the city, meaning no entertainment programs on local television and comedies will not be performed in the city's theaters, The Associated Press reported.

The victims from the open air concert at Tushino air field, north of Moscow, were remembered at a memorial service Sunday.

Putin, who intends to hold elections for a regional president in Chechnya in October, condemned the bombings, saying: "A bloody and vile crime has been committed, a crime against civilians.

"Among those who have perished are young people who were only just beginning their adult life. The purpose of this terrorist act is obvious: To sow fear, suspicion and ethnic intolerance in our society.

"But we know that traitors to their own people and murderers have no future nor can they have any. All Russians, the entire country, are with you in these sorrowful tragic hours."

About 20,000 people had been at the fourth annual music festival called "Krylya" (Wings). Officials said both of the bombers had been refused admission and that the explosions took place at entrances.

Investigators work at the site of the bomb blast.
Investigators work at the site of the bomb blast.

The first woman's explosives, which were tied to her body, detonated only partially, police said. Fifteen minutes later, at another entrance, the other woman detonated the explosives that were strapped to her body along with metal pieces.

Police said a passport belonging to one of the women identified her as aged 20 with a Chechen name.

It was the latest in a series of suicide attacks that have taken place in Russia and its breakaway Republic of Chechnya.

Last month, a woman killed at least 17 people after throwing herself under a bus carrying members of Russia's military near Chechnya and detonating explosives.

In October, Chechen rebels targeted a Moscow theater, holding dozens hostage until Russian authorities released a mystery gas inside the building and then sent special troops to storm it. A total of 129 people died in the 57-hour siege, most from effects of the gas.


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