Crimea school attack: Russians blame Western culture

     BLAST The explosion happened at the Polytechnic College in Kerch Crimea

DS BLAST The explosion happened at the Polytechnic College in Kerch Crimea

As Russians struggle to come to terms with a horrific US-style school shooting in Crimea, which has left at least 20 people dead and dozens injured, Kremlin-controlled media are blaming the "corrupting influence" of the West for inspiring the attack.

Crimea's regional leader Sergei Aksyonov initially said the perpetrator was a 22-year-old student in the school who lives in Kerch and shot himself afterwards.

The reported killer was a "student in the fourth year who was studying at the college".

The Investigative Committee, which probes major incidents, said in a statement that it had "opened a criminal case into a terrorist attack over the explosion in a college in Kerch".

Tributes have flowed for the victims of the school attack in Kerch, Crimea, where 19 were killed.

Law enforcement officers stand in line at the scene of a fatal attack on a college in the port city of Kerch, Crimea, on October 17, 2018.

Hundreds of students from the technical college where the attack took place were at the square, including an injured young woman in a wheelchair.

Pupils and staff who survived the assault have described scenes of mayhem as people tried to flee the building.

At least 17 people were killed and 40 injured in the gunfire and the blast, which officials told Reuters went off in the school cafeteria.

Security had been stepped up in the city of 150,000 in the far east of Crimea, where a recently-opened bridge links the Russian mainland to the annexed territory.

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"The motives and theories of this tragedy are thoroughly investigated", Putin said.

"Some people have feet, lower legs missing", she said. The same month, a teenager attacked other students with an axe at a school near the Siberian city of Ulan-Ude and then set the classroom on fire.

The head of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, and Russia's health minister, have headed to the area.

"There are already lots of people in the emergency room, and in the operating theatre", a hospital employee told Russian news agency TASS.

The young man's grandmother, Taisiya Roslyakova, told the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily on Thursday that her grandson was a kind boy who was always helping her with chores, unlike her son, the student's father, who reportedly was an alcoholic. They added that Roslyakov's body had gunshot wounds.

Fifty-three people were wounded, including 12 in serious condition, Crimean authorities said.

Russian television said Roslyakov's mother, a nurse at a local hospital, was helping the wounded, unaware that her son was the suspected attacker.

According to the RIA Novosti agency, security forces raided Roslyakov's family home following the killings.

"When we all ran out into the corridor, there were others running and shouting that some guy with a machine gun was randomly shooting everyone in turn".

A student at the college who asked not to give his name told AFP that "I was in a class when I heard shooting on the first floor".

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