MOSCOW, January 26. /TASS/. Moscow has information that the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group is using the Pankisi Gorge in Georgia in its interests, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told an annual press conference on Tuesday.
"We receive reports that ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - former name of IS) militants are using this hardly accessible territory to train, rest and replenish their supllies," Lavrov said.
The foreign minister said that there were cases when terrorists were detained in the Pankisi Gorge. According to available information, they were linked to IS, he added.
According to the minister, Russia’s territory is secure from the presence of the Islamic State terrorist group.
"They [terrorists] get into all the holes," Lavrov said. "If we do not fight against them, no one will be able to hide from them."
"At this stage we [Russia] have a serious shield, and we stop all the manifestations that we see in Russia’s territory," Russia’s top diplomat said.
The Islamic State is an Islamic terrorist organization banned in Russia. In 2013-2014, it was known under the name the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and operated mainly in Iraq and Syria. In June 2014, the Islamic State announced the establishment of an "Islamic caliphate" (a state with a Sharia form of government) on the territories it had seized and reduced its name to the Islamic State (IS).
According to various estimates, the extremist group numbers between 30,000 and 200,000 people. Among members of the group are citizens of 80 countries, including France, Great Britain, Germany, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, U.S., Canada, Russia and other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The IS group is also considered as a terrorist organization in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, Turkey and some other countries. The international coalition led by the US has been delivering airstrikes on the IS positions since August 2014. Russia launched its airstrikes against the IS on September 30, 2015.