By Jeremy Herb
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said he would fight terrorists until their “total annihilation” to avenge a pair of bombings in Volgograd that left more than 30 people dead.
In his first public comments on the suicide bombings that occurred Sunday and Monday, Putin vowed to pursue terrorists in Russia until they are eliminated.
The bombings in a Volgograd train station and trolley bus have sparked new fears that terrorists will try to strike the Winter Olympics in Sochi, which begin in six weeks. Russian officials and the International Olympic Committee have said the Olympics will be safe and secure.
No group has claimed responsibility for the blasts in Volgograd, which is roughly 400 miles northeast of Sochi.
Russian officials say the bombings are connected, and they come after Doku Umarov, the leader of Russia's Islamist movement in the North Caucasus region who released a video in July vowing to unleash “maximum force” on the Sochi Olympics.
Putin released two New Year’s Eve addresses this year, according to The Associated Press, changing a typical ritual for Russian leaders to broadcast messages as the New Year hits in each of the country's nine time zones.
The first address that aired in Russia’s Far East did not mention the bombings. A spokesman said there wasn’t time to get the address that discussed the attacks to the Far East, according to Ekho Moskvy radio.