Bomb scares across Russia prompt mass evacuations!

Since September 09 Sunday, more than a dozen cities have been hit with a string of bomb scares, leading to mass evacuations at train stations, malls and other public places. In Moscow, around 10,000 people were evacuated from eight schools, the RBC news outlet reports, citing an unidentified official in law enforcement.

A wave of bomb scares has been largely ignored by Russian state television, with none of the prime-time news shows mentioning the incidents on Wednesday.  Dozens of buildings including schools and malls in more than 12 Russian cities have been evacuated since Sunday after authorities received a series of anonymous bomb threats, the Interfax news agency reports.  Interfax cited a law enforcement official in Chelyabinsk as saying that the evacuations were prompted by bomb scares across cities in Russia. "There's reason to assume this was all organized abroad," the official was cited as saying.

St. Petersburg has become the latest city in Russia to be targeted by suspected bomb threats with evacuations taking place in malls across the city, the Rosbalt news agency reported.

Witnesses told Rosbalt on Thursday that central St. Petersburg’s Galeria shopping complex and 12 other malls in the city were also being cleared. The news was confirmed by the local Fontanka.ru outlet. An unnamed law enforcement source told the outlet that authorities are trying to verify the bomb threats.

The wave of evacuations began in Omsk early on Sunday, when law enforcement cleared several cinemas, schools, malls and City Hall, Interfax reports. That evening, eleven buildings were also cleared in Ryazan after authorities received phone calls warning a bomb had been planted in several malls. On Monday, similar actions were taken in Chelyabinsk and Kopeisk, Ufa and Stavropol, which received as many as 42 bomb scares, Interfax reports.

The bomb scares continued on Tuesday when all schools in Perm were evacuated, alongside several malls and a bus and train station, Interfax reports, citing local journalists. Government buildings were also ordered to be emptied in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, and bus stations were evacuated in Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg, according to Meduza. Meduza cited law enforcement in some regions as saying the evacuations were the result of drills.

A wave of bomb scares has led to tens of thousands of people being evacuated throughout the country, but the news has been ignored by Russian state television.

Since Sunday, cities across Russia have conducted evacuations after receiving anonymous bomb threats. On Wednesday, evacuations took place in Moscow at malls, including the GUM department store on Red Square, train stations, universities and hotels. The state-run TASS agency said 50,000 people were evacuated, while Interfax put the number at 100,000.  In Moscow, more than 100,000 people were evacuated on Wednesday from malls, including the GUM department store on Red Square, train stations, universities and hotels, the Interfax news agency reported.”

But state television, through which most Russians get their news, has barely covered the evacuations. Out of the state-run television channels, only Rossia-1 mentioned the evacuations, the Bell said, citing data from the media-monitoring company Medialogia. The news did not make it into any of Russia's primetime news programs, including Rossia-1’s “Vesty” and Channel One’s “Vremya” news shows. Only Rossia 24, Russian Public Television (OTR), RBC and the opposition-leaning Dozhd channels ran segments on the mass evacuations.

The bomb threats began in Omsk and Ryazan on Sunday, and were followed by anonymous phone calls in half a dozen Russian cities on Monday. By Tuesday, the threats had reached Siberia and the Far East, forcing the evacuation of an estimated 45,000 people in cities including Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg. On Wednesday around a dozen cities throughout Russia evacuated schools, stations, airports and government buildings.

There has been little official information about the wave of bomb threats, with some media citing local law enforcement officials as saying they are drills. Other media cite anonymous sources as saying the phone calls are being made online from abroad. An unnamed source close to the security services told RBC the calls have been tracked to an IP-address in Ukraine.

Earlier, Russia was rocked by a series of small-scale attacks and arrests this year after a bomber detonated a homemade device on the St. Petersburg metro in April, killing 16 people and wounding dozens.

 

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