President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Bastrykin, I know that investigators of the Investigative Committee have been working for a second day on probing yesterday’s early morning incident on the Crimean Bridge. There are preliminary results of the investigation, and I would like to ask you to report on them.
Chairman of the Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin: Mr President, our investigative team of the Main Directorate of Investigations and crime and forensic experts promptly arrived at the site of the incident. They carried out a detailed examination of the site together with explosives experts and forensic team and reached well-grounded tentative conclusions.
We opened an investigation in accordance with part 2 of Article 205 “Terrorism,” and this is confirmed by the preliminary stage of the investigation. We interrogated numerous witnesses and eyewitnesses, special expert studies have been launched and largely completed – explosives expertise, DNA testing and a forensic analysis. Respective instructions were issued to the Federal Security Service and the Interior Ministry of Russia regarding investigative activities.
We have already established the route of the lorry which exploded. It drove through Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, North Ossetia, and the Krasnodar Territory. In addition, we have also identified the carriers – the persons who took part in arranging the movements of that lorry. The FSS field agents helped to identify suspects from among those who could have arranged the terrorist act and those who are active within the Russian Federation.
Also, we are continuing the expert investigations so as to identify the exact purposes and tasks of this explosion. It is obviously of a terrorist nature. It is an act of terrorism. All our preliminary investigation data allow us to come to an unequivocal conclusion – this was a terrorist act which had been prepared by Ukrainian special services with the aim of destroying a large civilian infrastructure facility of crucial importance to the Russian Federation, especially to Crimea.
Vladimir Putin: I see.
There is no doubt here, as you have just reported, that it was a terrorist act aimed at destroying critical civilian infrastructure of the Russian Federation.
Alexander Bastrykin: Absolutely.
Vladimir Putin: And Ukraine’s special services were the initiators, performers and masterminds.
Alexander Bastrykin: Ukraine’s special services and citizens of Russia and foreign countries who assisted in preparing this terrorist act.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.