As authorities move to deal with the aftermath of a deadly shooting in the centre of Moscow, near the headquarters of Russia’s Federal Security Service, several people who were in the area when the attack took place stepped forward to reveal new details related to the incident.
One of them, Vladimir Adyasov, told Sputnik that he left a store at about 18:03 (local time) when he heard some kind of strange “dull” sounds.
“At first it sounded like some kind of fireworks,” Adyasov said. “But then it became clear that it was actually gunfire”.
Adyasov praised the efforts of traffic cops who were stationed nearby, and who he said “quickly figured out what’s going on” and proceeded to usher bystanders away from the site of the incident.
“I cannot exactly call it a full-fledged evacuation, but the authorities reacted very quickly, which is really good,” he remarked, noting that he personally didn’t see anyone getting hurt.
Vladimir pointed out, however, that he did not linger at the scene, and that he only heard gunshots but didn’t actually see any shooting.
Another eyewitness, who identified himself as Yaroslav, said that he was watching the scene from a balcony of a bar at the Nautilus shopping centre which overlooks the Lubyanka Square.
“I heard three single shots at around 18:30 or 18:40. Afterwards, ambulances started arriving; one of them already left at that time. A fire truck arrived, but where it went afterwards or if there was a fire, I didn’t see,” he said.
Yaroslav noted that he saw “two special forces vehicles or something like that” arriving at about 19:00, and that he spotted 10 special forces operatives running towards the scene.
Another eyewitness, a resident of Moscow named Oleg, said he came to Lubyanka Square at about 18:30, and didn’t seem to think much of the strange sounds he heard, but then noticed "lots of people filming something" and the police officers who were "all around there".
"I just wanted to go up the Bolshaya Lubyanka Street but it was impossible because I saw very tense policemen and they seemed to know what they were doing because they were ready for some action. And later in the news I found out that there was a second shooting right after I got to the subway," he said. "So I saw some serious looking policemen. And to my surprise, there was no panic in any action: neither in the actions of the police or nor in the way people behaved in the streets. Everyone seemed to be looking calm and resolved".
One FSB officer was killed and two were injured during a shootout near the Federal Security Service (FSB) headquarters in central Moscow on 19 December.