Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to eliminate terrorists in Russia in the wake of this week's back-to-back bombings that killed 34 people in Volgograd.
Making a New Year's Eve address while visiting the eastern city of Khabarovsk on December 31, Putin said: "Dear friends, we bow our heads before the victims of the terrible terrorist attacks. I am confident that we will fiercely and consistently continue the fight against terrorists until their total destruction."
He also called the terrorist attacks, along with this year's flooding in eastern Russia, the country's two greatest challenges of the past year.
"In the outgoing year, we had to face problems and serious challenges, such as the inhumane terrorist attacks in Volgograd and the unprecedented-in-their-scale natural disasters in the Far East," Putin said.
He said in a meeting with Khabarovsk residents that the region had managed to withstand unprecedented flooding and thanked them and the residents of other regions in Russia's Far East for their "bravery."
In this week's terrorist attacks in Volgograd, a suicide bomber on December 29 targeted the main hall of the city's railway station, while another suicide bomber on December 30 attacked a city trolleybus.
The first of the victims of two suicide bomb attacks were buried amid heightened security in Volgograd on December 31.
Sergei Nalibayko, 29, and Leonid Sushchev, 27, were buried in city cemeteries, with funerals for at least two more victims planned on January 1.
Russian media are crediting Nalibayko with having saved some people's lives after noticing the suicide bomber's suspicious behavior at the railway station on December 29 and confronting the bomber.
Many of those wounded in the attacks remain in hospital, where some are listed as being in "poor" condition. At least four of those wounded in the attacks have been taken to Moscow for medical treatment.
City On Alert
In response to the attacks, Russian authorities have placed some 5,200 police and Interior Ministry troops on the streets and on public transport in Volgograd.
Volgograd Governor Sergei Bozhenov said volunteers were helping the police.
"Yes, we do today have Cossack volunteers who, together with police, are patrolling the streets. The number of Cossack volunteers is increasing," Bozhenov said.
Volgograd police say more than 1,500 homes and other buildings have been searched and that process will continue.
Volgograd police spokesman Andrei Pilipchuk said 152 various firearms and 4.7 kilograms of narcotics have been seized since the police operation started in the wake of the attacks.
Sweeps of the city have also led to the detention of 87 people, most for resisting arrest or possessing invalid documents.
Governments and international organizations around the world have condemned the attacks, including U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.
"We condemn in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks in Volgograd. We send our sincere condolences to the families of the victims and stand in solidarity with the Russian people against terrorism of any kind," Harf said.
The attacks have raised security concerns ahead of the Winter Olympic Games, which are due to open in Sochi, Russia, some 700 kilometers southeast of Volgograd, on February 7.
With reporting by Interfax and ITAR-TASS