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Over 900 terrorists seeking to enter Russia from abroad exposed in 2016

At the same time, Secretary of the Russian Security Council admitted the existence of the problem of undercover cells of international terrorist organizations operating in Russia

MOSCOW, January 15. /TASS/. More than 900 terrorists seeking to enter Russian from abroad were exposed by Russian security services in 2016, Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev said in an interview with the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily to be published on Monday.

"In general, timely and efficient efforts taken by Russian security services made it possible to prevent attempts by terrorists to enter our country from zones of combat operations," he said. "Last year, more than 900 people involved in terrorist activities were exposed this way."

At the same time, he admitted the existence of the problem of undercover cells of international terrorist organizations operating in Russia disguised as traditional Moslem communities. "Supported by some countries - I would not name them now, they engaged in propaganda of extremism, recruited new members, sent recruits to terrorist training camps," he said.

He pledged that Russia will continue efforts to enhance control over people arriving from countries with high terrorist activity and to achieve better coordination between government agencies in counter-terrorist activities. "Naturally, serious efforts will be focused on ensuring security at forthcoming big international and spots events," he underscored.

Patrushev noted Russia’s contribution into anti-terrorist efforts in Syria. "Thanks to the support of the Russian aerospace and naval forces fighting against terrorism in Syria, serious damage has been done to terrorist groups and a larger part of the country has been completely liberated from radicals," he said. "Notably, we did focus merely on military measures in Syria. From the very beginning of the counter-terrorist operation, we have been thinking about how to resume normal life in Syria, not to let its territory be used as an extremist stronghold any longer."

The Russian senior security official noted that unlike Western partners, Russia has been offering and continues to offer real humanitarian assistance to the Syrian population to prevent a humanitarian disaster in a number of cities and populated localities.

"The influence of external factors of the terrorist threat for Russia has indeed increased," he admitted. "It stems not only from the Syrian fact but also from the developments in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Ukraine, as well as in some other countries. For instance, subversive and terrorist activities carried out by Ukrainian security services in Crimea constitute a negative tendency.".

 It is vitally important not to let use internet in terrorist and other criminal purposes, Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev said.

"First of all, it is very important not to let use internet and other information and communications technologies in criminal, terrorism-related purposes," he said.

He reminded that on the international arena, including within the United Nations, Russia has been calling to form "such a system that would be based on generally recognized rules of responsible conduct of states in the information space." He noted that the fact that the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of a relevant resolution co-initiated by about 80 states, including Russia, proves that such course enjoys international support.

"The process of improvement of measures to counter threats in the information space continues at the national level as well," Patrushev said. "A major step in this direction was the adoption of the basics of the state policy in that sphere and the doctrine of information security in 2016.".