Russian President Vladimir Putin gave authorities the go-ahead on Thursday to kill suspects in what he described as a “terrorist attack” at a supermarket in St Petersburg the day before.
Several people were injured in the bombing at a Perekryostok supermarket on Wednesday in Russia’s second-largest city.
The blast was believed to have been caused by a device that contained shrapnel and had the power of about 200 grams of TNT.
In comments released by the Kremlin, Putin said authorities should “act within the law,” but if there is a threat to their lives, they should “eliminate the bandits on the spot.”
There have been no reports of any suspects in the case.
One witness said the explosion appeared to have come from a baggage locker at the supermarket’s entrance.
Supermarkets in Russia usually provide such lockers to keep customers from taking their own bags into the store, in an effort to prevent Pilferage.
Russian authorities have been on edge following an apparent suicide bombing on an underground train in St Petersburg in April that killed more than a dozen people. The attacker was believed to have been radicalized by Islamist extremists.
Earlier this month, Putin called US President Donald Trump to thank him personally for a US tip-off that enabled Russian authorities to thwart a terrorist plot that had targeted St Petersburg’s landmark Kazan Cathedral.
Russian authorities have increased security in public areas in the run-up to New Year’s, which since the secular Soviet era has been Russians’ most widely celebrated holiday.