(Moscow) A shooting at a school in central Russia’s Izhevsk that killed at least 13 people, including seven children, was an “inhumane terrorist attack,” according to President Vladimir Putin.
Posted at 6:20 am.
Updated at 7:19 am.
“The president deeply regrets the death of people and children at this school where a terrorist attack was carried out,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“According to preliminary data, 13 people, including six adults and seven minors, were victims of the crime, 14 children and 7 adults were injured,” Russia’s Investigative Committee previously indicated, adding that the attacker committed suicide.
“The president wishes the recovery of those injured in this inhumane attack,” the Kremlin added.
Investigators said the suspect was wearing a “black Nazi symbolism sweater and balaclava.” This is Artyom Kazantsev, a former student of this school, born in 1988, they said in a separate statement. According to the same source, “we are checking whether he is a follower of neo-fascist positions and Nazi ideology”.
An earlier report by the Russian intelligence community had identified nine victims, including five children.
Investigators also released a video showing the body of a man lying on the ground, wearing a black sweater with blood around his skull and a red swastika.
Earlier, the Russian Interior Ministry said six people were killed and 20 injured.
“Police have recovered the body of the shooter. According to the information we received, he committed suicide,” he added.
The facts happened in the morning at school n°88 in this city located west of the Ural massif, the mountain range that separates European and Asian Russia. The city still has factories manufacturing Kalashnikov assault rifles.
According to the region’s governor, Alexander Brechalov, he killed the guard before opening fire inside the school.
The school’s website states that it has nearly a thousand students and 80 teachers.
The governor’s speech, in a video made in front of the school, was visibly moving. Behind him, medical personnel could be seen running into the building, some carrying stretchers.
“The evacuation is complete” and “the entire perimeter is cordoned off,” he assured in his video, adding that the Russian National Guard, the Russian Security Services (FSB) and “officers responsible for the investigation were already there.
According to the Ministry of Health, “14 ambulance teams” are on site and a “team of doctors” will soon go to Izhevsk to “help the victims”.
An investigation into the “murder” and “illegal carrying of weapons” was soon opened and transferred to the country’s main intelligence agency, the Investigative Committee of Russia.
A tense climate
Monday’s firing comes amid a tense climate in many parts of Russia, as hundreds of thousands of troops are being mobilized for a Russian offensive in Ukraine.
On Monday, a man opened fire at a Russian military recruitment center in Siberia, fatally wounding a soldier working there.
Fatal shootings, once rare, especially at schools, have been on the rise in Russia in recent years, with President Vladimir Putin alarmed by what he sees as a phenomenon imported from the United States and with dire consequences. Globalization has led to stricter laws on carrying arms.
In April, a man opened fire at a kindergarten, killing two children and a teacher, before killing himself in the Ulyanovsk region of central Russia.
The worst shooting spree began in October 2018, when a high school student killed himself and 19 others at a high school in Kerch, on the annexed peninsula of Crimea.
Izhevsk, a city of nearly 650,000 people, is the capital of the Otmurtia Republic in the center of the country.
It was in this industrial city, long closed to foreigners during the communist period, that Mikhail Kalashnikov developed his first “AK-47” in 1947, which became world famous.