LIVE UPDATES: One security officer has been wounded and blasts heard during an operation in Saint Petersburg this morning, purportedly aimed at detaining individuals wanted for terrorist activities in the North Caucasus.
Welcome to our column, Russia Update, where we will be closely following day-to-day developments in Russia, including the Russian government’s foreign and domestic policies.
The previous issue is here.
Recent Analysis and Translations:
– The Kremlin is Working Hard to Make Donald Trump President
– Russian Elections Round-Up: Parnas List Accepted; Party of Pensioners Forced to Remove Candidates
– âWhat Would Boris Do?â Opposition Struggles with In-Fighting on Eve of September Elections
– NATO Got Nothing From Conceding To Russia In the Past, Why Should It Cave To The Kremlin Now?
Likhov’s group is accused of attacking highway police and FSB in Kabardino-Balkaria, said Interfax.
Next, the spetsnaz staged a maneuver to distract the press, Fontanka learned later. A spetsnaz officer with a bandaged head was carried out of the building on a stretcher, and an ambulance then raced out of the courtyard, lights flashing. While the reporters were all filming the ambulance, suddenly there was a series of popping noises.
Information about how many militants were in the apartment and how many were shot or detained was at first contradictory, but the report of an injured spetsnaz turned out to be a ruse.
At 15:20 the FSB released an official statement saying the militants had put up armed resistance but all were shot. Asked if any were detained, the FSB said it had no comment. The National Anti-Terrorist Committee then said three were killed and one was detained.
They are Zalim Shebzukhov, Vyacheslav Nyrov, and Astemir Sheriyev.
A source in the Petersburg office of the Federal Security Service (FSB) told RIA Novosti that at least three people had been detained and that the security forces were now leaving the site, although a cordon remains around the apartment block on Leninsky Prospekt in the south of the city.
Fontanka, an independent Petersburg newspaper, reports that they have received word that a fourth militant was killed during the operation.
They say that the security officer wounded earlier was a member of the FSB Grad spetsnaz group.
— Pierre Vaux
The security forces have surrounded a residential building in Saint Petersburg this morning, with reports of two blasts.
Fontanka, an independent Petersburg newspaper, reports that members of both the newly formed National Guard and the Federal Security Service (FSB) are taking part in the operation.
Witnesses told the paper that at around 11:20, two explosions rang out from a sixth floor apartment facing the street. Smoke then billowed out of the windows.
The security forces have not evacuated the building but are not allowing anyone in..
According to Komomolskaya Pravda‘s local edition, armored vehicles and around 80 armed, masked security personnel surrounded the multi-storey apartment building on Leninsky Prospekt, in the south of the city, before gunshots and the first blast were heard.
A witness in the opposite building told KP that the blast sounded like a stun grenade.
Photos from the spb_today VKontakte page:
Security personnel are reported to have carried unidentified white sacks into the building.
The FSB claims that the operation is aimed at the detention of terrorists from the North Caucasus who are on the federal wanted list.
Fontanka later reported that the wanted persons are sought by the security forces in the republic of Kabardino-Balkaria.
At around 12:00, Fontanka‘s correspondent Denis Korotkov reported that people in white and green chemical protection suits and gas masks could be seen on the communal balcony of the 10th and 11th floors.
At around 12:35 Fontanka reported from the scene that a man had been brought out of the building on a stretcher and loaded into an ambulance. A group of security officers then sped off in a car.
According to the correspondent, the man taken off in the ambulance was a member of the security forces.