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MOSCOW, September 21. /TASS/. About 10,000 militants from CIS countries fought on the side of terrorists in Syria, a high-ranking Russian foreign ministry official said in an interview with the Kommersant daily on Thursday.
"From 20,000 to 40,000 foreign militants fought in Syria, Some 10,000 of them were from CIS countries," said Ilya Rogachev, director of the ministry’s department for new threats and challenges. "Slightly less than half of them were Russian citizens and about 5,000 were natives of Central Asian states."
According to Rogachev, the return of these people "is a real threat to Russia and states of the post-Soviet space." "Having rich experience in subversive activities and broad ties among terrorists, they bring a strong potential of destabilization and radicalization of public moods," he said, citing as an example the terror attack on St. Petersburg’s metro in April.
"We wouldn’t want any of them to return to our country in case Islamic State (a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) collapses," he said, adding that those who finally manage to return should be duly punished.