The European Union on Friday condemned the deadly terror attacks that left more than a dozen people dead and scores more injured in Russia's North Caucasus republic of Dagestan a day earlier.
In a statement issued Friday, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton condemned "in the strongest possible terms the heinous terrorist attacks that took many lives and injured more than a hundred people last night in Dagestan."
Stressing that there can be no justification for such criminal acts, Ashton expressed her "condolences to the victims and their families and friends as well as the people of the Russian Federation."
At least 13 people were killed and more than 100 others injured when two blasts, apparently triggered by suicide-bombers, ripped through a police checkpoint on the outskirts of Makhachkala, the capital city of Dagestan, on Thursday night.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the twin attacks. Dagestan Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said the people responsible for the attacks were "inhuman and incapable of returning to civilian life."
The blasts occurred as Russia gears up for the May 9 World War II Victory Day celebrations, marked with nationwide military parades and other events. In wake of Thursday's attacks, Moscow has ordered concerned authorities to beef up security in the volatile North Caucasus region as a precaution.
Thursday's attacks also came just three days before Vladimir Putin, whose 2000 presidential election victory was widely credited to his tough stance on Chechnya, is to be inaugurated for a third term in the Kremlin.
Russia's North Caucasus region has witnessed several such violent incidents in recent years, especially after the end of the second Chechen war. Russia had launched the operation to crush Chechnya's post-Soviet independence movement.
Islamic insurgents from the North Caucus region had earlier carried out a suicide blast at Moscow's Domodedovo airport in which 37 were killed in January 2011 and claimed responsibility for the twin bombings that left 40 people dead on the Moscow metro in 2010.
Russia ended its counter-terrorism operation in Chechnya in April 2009, but periodic bombings and clashes between militants and federal troops still disrupt the southern republic and nearby regions, particularly Daghestan and Ingushetia.
Experts say that insurgency in the Russian North Caucasus region is fueled by Islamic extremism, separatism and poor economic conditions.
by RTT Staff Writer
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