MOSCOW, September 29. /ITAR-TASS/. The terrorist organisations in the territory of Iraq and Syria, including the Islamic State, comprise people coming from 70 to 80 countries, including Russians, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Monday.
The fight against the increasingly active terrorist groups in the Middle East and North Africa was the key theme at the ministerial week at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly.
“The terrorist organisations, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) also comprise Russian citizens. In essence, we are dealing with the terrorist international. People coming from many countries, 70 or 80 states, are fighting there [in Iraq and Syria]. Everybody is concerned over the fact that these people go there and return back. They undergo training there, acquiring skills and therefore they pose a major threat to national security of their countries,” Bogdanov said in an interview with the Kommersant daily.
Answering the question how many Russians are fighting in Iraq and Syria, Bogdanov said: “I suppose, there are tens of them.”
The deputy minister also said the Islamic State poses a threat to Russia.
Asked how Russia would react if the operation of the United States and its allies against ISIL is transferred to the ground phase, Bogdanov said: “It’s a very complicated issue. It depends on what the ground phase will be like, who will participate in it and which goals will be pursued.”
“All these issues may be settled within the framework of the UN Security Council and based on the UN Charter, this is a way for constructive interaction among the international community members. As far as some kind of ground operation is concerned, this certainly requires such [approved by the UN] decisions and most importantly - interaction with the leadership of the states where such operations may theoretically be conducted,” Bogdanov said.