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Moscow (AFP) – President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday warned “terrorists” they face total destruction, after Russia was hit by double suicide bombings in its southern city of Volgograd that claimed 34 lives.

“Dear friends, we bow our heads in front of the victims of the terrible acts of terror. I am sure we will toughly and consistently continue to fight against terrorists until their total destruction,” he said.

Putin made the comments in a New Year’s address from the Far Eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk, which is seven hours ahead of Moscow and where he met with victims of devastating summer floods.

“In the current year, we have encountered problems and have been challenged by serious experiences, including ones like the inhuman acts of terror in Volgograd,” Putin was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

Curiously, his New Year’s address that was broadcast earlier to the inhabitants of Russia’s furthest flung time zones of Magadan and Kamchatka did not mention the Volgograd attacks.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Putin had broken with a longstanding tradition by departing from the traditional New Year’s address which is normally recorded days in advance at the Kremlin.

“Here [in Khabarovsk] he made his New Year’s wishes and this became his New Year’s address. So he basically broke a long-standing tradition,” Peskov explained.

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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