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US training terrorists to target Russia – Moscow

The US has turned to Islamist extremists to plan terrorist attacks in Russia and other ex-Soviet republics, Moscow’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) said on Monday. A group is being trained at a base in Syria for the purpose, the agency claimed.

The US military is actively recruiting militants from jihadist groups affiliated with Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS] and Al-Qaeda to commit terrorist attacks in Russia and members of the Commonwealth of Independent States [CIS],” the SVR stated, citing “credible reports.” 

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Established after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the CIS incorporates some of its former republics, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

According to the SVR, the US has enlisted 60 terrorists who have already been active in the Middle East. They are undergoing training at the Al-Tanf American military base in Syria, where they are learning how to manufacture and use improvised explosive devices, it added.

“Particular attention is paid to planning attacks on well-protected facilities, including foreign diplomatic missions,” the agency stated. It added that Washington is aiming to “deploy the militants as part of small groups to the territory of Russia and the CIS states in near future.” They will then target “diplomats, public officials, law enforcement officers, and military personnel,” the SVR claimed.

“We see that US security agencies have lost all moral principles… Obsessed with the crazy idea of ‘bleeding Russia dry’, Washington strategists presume it is acceptable to directly use terrorists for their dirty purposes,” the agency said. It asserted that “such actions put Washington on a par with the largest international terrorist groups.” 

In December, SVR Director Sergey Naryshkin claimed that the White House was pursuing policies to create an “instability belt along Russia’s external perimeter.” Naryshkin had previously stated that the security services in Russia and CIS countries have the common goal of “counteracting Western countries’ destructive actions on the territory of our states.”

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