Russia has foiled a string of plots ordered by “international terrorist organisations” active in Syria and Turkey, the FSB intelligence agency said Wednesday, adding that several suspects had been arrested.
“A group of immigrants from Central Asian countries who were planning to carry out a series of terrorist acts in the Moscow region” have been arrested, the FSB said, cited by state news agency RIA Novosti.
The FSB added that the attacks, which would have struck in early May, had been ordered by “the leaders of international terrorist organisations active in Syria and Turkey”.
Several high-profile cultural and political events occurred on May 1 in or near Moscow to mark Labour Day, a national holiday in Russia. In addition, this year the Russian Orthodox Church celebrated Easter on May 1.
On May 9 hundreds of thousands of people usually flock to the heart of the Russian capital for a military display and other celebrations to mark the anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.
During the arrests, which occurred in Moscow but the date of which was not given, “a large number of arms and explosives” were seized, according to the FSB statement.
Those arrested “are progressing towards making confessions”, it added.
The announcement comes amid violent clashes since April 22 between the Moscow-backed Damascus regime and Syrian rebels supported by Turkey, in Aleppo in northern Syria, despite diplomatic efforts to restore a ceasefire.
Russian forces have backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his offensive against “terrorist” groups and helped Damascus retake the ancient city of Palmyra at the end of March from Islamic State group fighters.
Russia is regularly accused by the West and Syrian opposition fighters of launching strikes against rebels opposed to Damascus. Moscow has always denied this.